After a week full of action, the UW-Milwaukee women’s tennis team claimed a hard fought win over conference opponent Oakland, but fell in three tough battles to non-conference teams of Florida Atlantic University and Akron, as well as coming up short against league opponent Detroit.
The Panthers started off their week Wednesday afternoon in Boca Raton, Florida for their matchup against FAU, falling 2-4.
Doubles action started promisingly, with the top duo of senior Christina Colarossi and sophomore Alysa Straub taking their match 7-6. Milwaukee was unfortunately forced to retire from the third match due to an injury, giving FAU the doubles point.
“This was a hard fought match,” Milwaukee head coach Maddy Soule said. “It’s a disappointing loss because the match was within arm’s reach and literally came down to a few points. To play a very talented, tough team so close is indicative of the progress we have made recently and it’s very motivating to the team.
Continuing in singles play, the Panthers kept the matchup close. Transitioning well over from doubles, Straub took her match at the fourth flight 6-4, 6-2. Sophomore Aerielle Pendleton, after stepping in for the injury, won her sixth flight match, also in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3. Colarossi had begun her match strongly, claiming the first set 6-1; however, it went unfinished due to FAU already claiming the victory over the Panthers.
The Panthers then resumed their conference play by traveling to Rochester, Michigan to take on Oakland Saturday afternoon, winning the tough encounter 4-3.
Milwaukee opened up the match dropping the doubles point, two matches to one, with Straub and Colarossi pulling out straightforward win.
Instead, singles play seemed to uplift the Panthers. Senior Chelsea Bailey, at the top flight, earned an easy 6-1, 6-4 victory; Colarossi won her match similarly, posting a 6-0, 6-2 score line for the fifth flight. Sophomore Hayley Marshall secured a third win for the team, 7-5, 6-3 at the second flight. However, it was at the fourth flight that the Panthers claimed the victory. Straub, despite feeling ill throughout, took the deciding match in three sets, battling back after losing first set four games to six. She then won the next two with relative ease, 6-3, 6-1, giving the Panthers the victory.
“When we lost the doubles point I knew we would have to fight to find four wins,” Soule said. “Oakland fought hard, but we were able to find four singles matches. I am very proud of the girls for pulling this match out, though it was a little close for comfort. I am especially proud of Alysa. Though she wasn’t feeling well, she knew she was the deciding match and did everything she could to fight through.”
After their victory, Milwaukee returned to action the next day in Detroit, facing another league opponent, this time falling 0-4.
Detroit started out of the gates overpowering Milwaukee, claiming the doubles point without dropping a match, with the top match remaining unfinished after Detroit already won the point.
Singles play did not improve in Milwaukee’s favor. The Panthers fell in three of the singles matches, each in straight sets, handing Detroit the match victory. The other three matches also went unfinished, despite the Panthers leading in two of the three matches.
“Unfortunately we weren’t able to secure the doubles point, and when you play a team as deep as Detroit, that is imperative,” Soule said. “Finding four singles matches after losing a doubles point is very tough to do against a good team. Although we did not finish the match, it was looking promising at the two, three and six positions, which would have given us three wins.
“Our goal in the upcoming weeks are to secure the doubles points and practice in a way that will give us the most confidence to do so. Despite the loss, I think the girls battled and are determined to have a really good two weeks of practice looking to continue conference play.”
The Panthers returned to Milwaukee on Tuesday to face Akron, yet again falling a hard-fought clash 3-4.
This time the Panthers started off quickly, claiming the doubles point, with Colarossi and Straub taking the top spot 7-5. Freshman Mardee Merar and junior Dana Shannon took the third flight with a 6-2 victory, earning the early lead for the Panthers.
Milwaukee then prevailed in several long singles matches. At the top flight, Bailey fell behind, losing the first set 6-2, before storming back winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-3 to claim the match. Marshall, playing at the flight just below, was found in a similar position, dropping her first set 3-6. Marshall fought back in a similar manner, her next two sets 6-2, 6-4 victories. Colarossi nearly pulled out her fifth flight match, coming just short, falling 7-5 in the third set. The remaining singles matches all became straight set loses for the Panthers, allowing Akron to take the close win.
After the long week in action, Milwaukee dropped to (4-12). The Panthers will now have a week of rest to prepare for their next match. They will head to Valparasio to continue league play Friday, April 3.