Women’s tennis nets two big weekend wins
After attaining their highest national rank in head coach Kelly Stahlhuth’s seven-year tenure, the Bears defeated Case Western University 5-2 in Chicago on Friday. But the rival Maroons dropped the Red and Green’s record to 12-5 in windy outdoor conditions.
Chicago swept the three doubles matches and won five of six in singles. Sophomore Corinne Rauck saved the Bears from a shutout with a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 6 singles, the final match of the day.
After losing her first set 3-6 at No. 4 singles, junior Paige Madara pushed her opponent to the brink with a 6-4 second set victory. But Madara fell short, 1-0 (10-5), in the only three-set match between the teams.
Senior Natalie Tingir had her seven-match winning streak at No. 1 singles snapped with a 6-2, 6-2 defeat.
All five of the Bears’ losses have come against top-12 opponents, which Stahlhuth takes as a positive sign.
“It’s more encouragement to me because they’re really working hard through a couple of injuries—they’re all stepping up, and we’re beating who on paper we’re supposed to,” she said. “And we’re doing the best we can with the teams that are ranked in that top ten.”
Losses to Chicago bookended the Bears’ three-match team winning streak. After a 5-0 indoor loss to the Maroons, Wash. U. upset No. 10 DePauw University 5-4 and routed McKendree University 9-0. Then the Red and Green won two of three doubles matches and five of six in singles to cruise past Case Western.
In No. 1 doubles, junior Kate Klein and sophomore Corinne Rauck put the Bears in front with an 8-6 upset of Case Western’s Erika and Alexandra Lim, the Central Region’s No. 5 doubles team.
“We threw [Klein and Rauck] together last weekend as a doubles team, and you could tell they were going to do well with more matches,” Stahlhuth said. “And that had a really nice win yesterday against a ranked team.”
Case Western’s No. 2 doubles pair fought back with an 8-4 win over sophomore Theresa Petraskova and Tingir, but the Spartans dropped the next four matches to seal their fate. First, sophomore Betsy Edershile and Madara notched an 8-4 victory in their final doubles match. Tingir then rebounded from her doubles loss to win her seventh No. 1 singles match, beating Erika Lim 6-3, 6-2.
Klein (6-2, 6-4) and Petraskova (6-1, 6-2) picked up the Bears’ fourth and fifth victories, respectively, to clinch the win.
Edershile was upbeat about the team’s improvement over the course of the year.
“I think we’ve definitely come a long way,” Edershile said. “I think our doubles teams, which maybe started out a little weaker at the beginning of the season, are getting a lot stronger as the season progresses.”
The Bears will find out if Edershile’s statement holds true Tuesday at 4 p.m., when they host Webster University.