By Coby Dodelson
Despite a promising start, the Colorado College women’s tennis team could not convert on the top five singles’ spots as they faced Arizona Christian University this past Sunday at Lifetime Fitness in Colorado Springs. CC secured a three-point lead at the start of the meet after sweeping the doubles match, but ACU proved to be tough competitors and ultimately prevailed 5-4 over the Tigers.
It was clear that singles play was the Tigers’ Achilles heel during Sunday’s matchup. Sophomore Annie Zlevor said that the team has a chance in tough matchups if they “can display more patience on the court during singles.” Head Coach Anthony Weber also noted that “Arizona Christian’s strength was with their singles and they pressured us with their consistency.”
Even though the loss was a bitter pill to swallow, there were encouraging aspects of it as well. The strength exhibited in the doubles match goes to show how much the team has improved since the start of the spring season. Back in February, they held a 1-8 record in doubles matches over the course of three games. Matches like Sunday’s exhibit the teams’ rapid improvement.
Sophomore Simone Hall’s strong performance on Sunday was another shining beacon of hope. Hall and Zlevor won their doubles matches 6-4, and Hall went on to nab the Tigers’ only victory in singles when she defeated her opponent 6-0, 4-6 , and 1-0.
Although the Tigers didn’t win, a score that close against such a talented team is promising for their future. “We play a very challenging schedule and are typically an underdog going into our matches,” Weber said. “This match was no different…We were expected to lose, but we came out and played very well in doubles.”
Even though the Tigers were disappointed by the loss, they were able to reflect on the positive and negative aspects of the match. The team is “moving better on the court and communicating well,” said Zlevor. The doubles play corroborated her claim. After the game, Weber stressed the importance of “making good decisions on every ball,” telling the players to, “pick a spot and hit, that allows you to play with confidence in a stressful environment.”
Their next match is on April 13 against Colorado State University-Pueblo, a team that has lost the past five matches. Three away games in Texas follow the CSU game, and the season will culminate in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference playoffs.
Although the Tigers do not want to look too far into the future, there are points that Weber wants to emphasize in practice that will help the Tigers to achieve their full potential as they approach the end of the season. “We are going to continue stressing decisions (simply, if the ball is here, hit there…but not always that simple), heft in our strokes, playing opportunistic tennis, and continue to emphasize court positioning in both singles and doubles,” Weber said.
If they can surmount their troubles in singles play during the rest of the regular season, they will be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.