Return to the courts after an extremely successful fall season, the UW-Milwaukee women’s tennis team traveled just across town to face off against Marquette in the spring opener. The Panthers dropped the contest 0-7, despite playing hard in several matches.
Heading into the season with new coach Jeff Aranda, the Panthers had hoped to start the season where they had left off in October.
Doubles play did not go in the way of the Panthers, dropping all three matches. The top pair of freshman Laurie Clark and junior Alysa Straub weren’t able to match their opponents play, dropping the match 3-
6. The other two teams were unable to rack up more than two games, with sophomore Labina Petrovska and junior Hayley Marshall falling 2-6 at the second slot, and senior Dana Shannon pairing with Masha Lobanova dropped their match 1-6.
Singles play was a much stronger affair for UWM, and much more competitive.
At #2 singles, Marshall played the closest match. Both sets reached a tied score of 5-5 before Marshall’s opponent, Erin Gebes, secured the late break, claimed the match 7-5, 7-5.
Shannon also played a close match the longer it went on. She began sluggish, dropping the first set 2-6 to Aleeza Kanner. She raised her level, bringing the second set to a tiebreak. The two were even throughout, and Kanner eventually pulled ahead, claiming the tiebreak 11 points to 9, taking the match 6-2, 7-6(9).
Freshman standout Laurie Clark, playing at the 3 singles slot, dropped her match in straight sets, 3-6, 3-6, to former Panther Diana Tokar. Straub, at 4 singles, and junior Aerielle Pendleton, at 6 singles, were both defeated in straight sets, falling 0-6, 3-6 and 2-6, 3-6, respectively.
Despite not winning a match, Aranda thought it the matches were much closer than the scores warranted, and that it was a good first match to the season.
“I’m very proud of how my team played today,” Aranda said. “The ladies were great all day long. It was an extremely competitive from top to bottom.”
The Panthers travel to Minneapolis for two matches next weekend. On Saturday will compete against Minnesota, before taking on South Dakota for a neutral-site match-up the following day.