Wayne State’s women’s tennis team (8–2, 7–2 GLIAC) will look to win the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament for the ninth time in program history this weekend.
WSU concluded the fall portion of its schedule with a four-match winning streak, highlighted by a 4–3 win over Grand Valley State University, who shared the conference’s regular season title with Northwood University on Oct. 14.
In its last match, WSU defeated Purdue Northwest 7–0 Oct. 21, completing the weekend with match-point sweeps from both opponents.
The team is excited to play in this year’s tournament, said senior Astrid Ciellza.
“We’re excited and we know what we can do, but we’re not overlooking anybody,” Ciellza said. “We’re excited to go play, show what we’ve got and hopefully win.”
WSU’s opponent in the quarterfinals will be the Ferris State Bulldogs, who WSU beat 6–1 in Big Rapids on Oct. 13.
Head coach Sheila Snyder said a good start in the doubles portion of the match is key to succeeding against the Bulldogs.
“They play really solid doubles, so we really need to get off to a good start and win the doubles point to try to set the tone for the rest of the match,” Snyder said.
WSU’s participation in this year’s conference tournament will give the team an opportunity to avenge last year’s defeat in the championship match against GVSU.
Assistant coach Yasha Moore said last year’s defeat was tough and a driving force for the team this season.
“We have a lot of new people on the team that don’t know what that experience was like, so we’re just ready to do well not thinking about what happened last year (and) letting that affect what goes on this year,” Moore said.
Moore said maintaining focus on each opponent will be crucial for the team this weekend.
“We need to have good practices, go into the matches focused and be willing to do the things you need to do to win,” Moore said.
Ciellza said she is hopeful that WSU will win the GLIAC tournament for the first time since the 2014–2015 season.
“That would really make my senior year if we won the and I know that would set the tone for all the freshmen coming in,” Ciellza said. “It’s just a great feeling to win the championship and I personally feel that we can.”
While Snyder said she doesn’t expect the team to face any easy opponents in the tournament and preparation is the most important thing for the team this weekend.
“All we can do is compete,” Snyder said. “Work hard, compete and see where it falls.”
WSU opens the GLIAC quarterfinals with a match against Ferris State University at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Midland Community Tennis Center.
Matt Williams is sports editor of The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cover photo courtesy of WSU Athletics.