Ladies take fifth place in Midwest Invitational

| Sports Editor

Senior Grace Fox extends for a backhand on March 24 against Lindenwood University.

In its biggest tournament of the spring season to date, the No. 14 Washington University women’s tennis team came up strong at the Midwest Invitational in Madison, Wis., on April 2-3. The team won two of three matches to take fifth place out of eight teams for the weekend.

After dropping the opening round match on Friday to No. 9 Gustavus Adolphus College, 7-2, the Bears bounced back in Friday’s consolation round as they defeated No. 26 Coe College, 7-2. With fifth place on the line in Saturday’s lone match, Wash. U. took out No. 18 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, again by a count of 7-2.

“Some of the matches before [this weekend] weren’t as close, and this was definitely a higher level of tennis,” sophomore Natalie Tingir said. “This is something we definitely needed, to get up to a challenge.”

The match against Gustavus was a tough loss for the Bears, as junior Karina Kocemba’s 6-2, 7-5 victory at second singles was the only thing that prevented Wash. U. from being swept on the singles end. At doubles, the Gusties took two of three, with Tingir and senior Allison Dender taking an 8-5 victory at third doubles.

“We’ve played them the past few years, and every year we have a competitive match with them,” Dender said. “They’re a strong team, and we did pretty well. This weekend, it wasn’t enough.”

The second half of the Bears’ day on Friday went better, as they managed to take five of six singles matches to go with two of three doubles. Freshman Kate Klein took first singles 6-4, 6-1, while junior Jaclyn Bild won third singles 6-1, 6-3. Tingir continued her strong weekend with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at fourth sinigles. Kocemba, the lone winner from the day’s first match, was narrowly defeated 4-6, 6-3, 10-7 at second singles.

While Klein and Kocemba were taken down 8-1 at first doubles, Bild and junior Elise Sambol took second doubles 8-6, and Dender and Tingir won their second match of the day 8-2 at third.

“We were a little down after we lost to Gustavus, so we were all very motivated,” Bild said. “We gave it [our] all and fought back hard and really just brought it to them.”

The win on Friday put the Bears in the fifth-place match on Saturday against Whitewater, and they came out firing. Klein, Kocemba, Bild and Tingir all took their respective matches in first through fourth singles. At doubles, Bild and Sambol soundly took an 8-0 victory at second doubles, while Dender and Tingir finished a perfect weekend at doubles with an 8-6 win at third doubles.

“The wins over Whitewater and Coe gave us some confidence,” Tingir said. “Beating Gustavus would’ve been nice, but with that loss, we sort of figured out what we had to work on.”

With one of their biggest tournaments of the year behind them, the Bears have two more matches before their conference championships in Cleveland. They will face Webster University on Wednesday at Wash. U.’s Tao Tennis Center.

“It’s a good sign of the weeks to come,” Bild said about the team’s success last weekend. “UAAs [are] going to be our toughest tournament of the year, so we’ll see what happens. We’re going to try and stay focused and practicing harder so we’re 100 percent ready.”

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.