Competing in Minnesota last weekend, the UW-Milwaukee women’s tennis team had a tough road before them, playing #60 Minnesota on Saturday before squaring off against South Dakota the next day. Both matches took place at the Baseline Tennis Center.
The Panthers faced an uphill battle even before they set foot on the court, facing off against the nationally ranked Gophers.
Minnesota pulled to a quick lead after capturing the doubles point, claiming all three doubles matches. None of the Panthers’ teams scored more than three games.
If the Panthers were hoping to regroup for singles play, their wish wasn’t granted.
Junior Aerielle Pendleton, in the fifth spot, pushed back more successfully than her teammates. After dropping the first set 1-6, Pendleton stayed with her opponent, Maja Vujic, until Pendleton was able to break at love for a 4-2 lead. She would serve for the set at 5-3, but was unable to close it out, dropping the final five games of the set to drop the match 1-6, 5-7.
The rest of the Panthers were unable to gather any momentum, earning a combined total of seven games in five matches.
Aranda’s First Win
Third time was the charm for the Panthers’ new tennis coach, Jeff Aranda. Competing in a neutral location match, Milwaukee was able to narrowly defeat South Dakota the following morning, 4-3.
Unlike the previous match, UWM was able to gather the quick lead with the doubles point. Junior Hayley Marshall and sophomore Labina Petrovska claimed the 2nd doubles spot with a 6-4 win, while senior Dana Shannon and freshman Masha Lobanova rushed to a 6-2 win at the bottom slot.
The Panthers were fortune for the doubles point, as the remaining six singles matches were split, 3-3.
Freshman Laurie Clark was quickly able to dismiss Emma Kranendonk, 6-1, 6-2. Junior Alysa Straub and Pendleton were also able to win in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1 and 6-3, 6-1, respectively. Straub competed at the 4th slot and Pendleton won at the 6th singles spot.
There were no three-set affairs, as the remaining Panthers fell in their matches in straight sets: Petrovska 4-6, 1-6 at the top spot; #2 singles Marshall 2-6, 1-6; and #5 singles Shannon 2-6, 3-6.
“I’m loving being the head coach of this team,” Aranda said. “We have great team chemistry and there are only good things ahead.”
The Panthers stay at home this weekend, facing off against Chicago Saturday at 12:30, before returning to the courts the following afternoon to play fellow Milwaukee school Cardinal Stritch at 3:30. Both matches will be contested at River Glenn Elite.