Women’s tennis bounces into fall season

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Opening their season at the Oberlin Invitational, the Spartans showcased the potential of their young team. In addition to numerous strong individual showings, the team went 6-4 in doubles matches.

On a team with just two fourth-year students, fourth-year student Kennedy Mulholland’s presence is critical to Case Western Reserve University’s success.

Mulholland kicked off her last season as a Spartan with a sweep of her opponents. Mulholland grabbed three individual victories, winning 2-1, 2-0, and 2-0. Following her only lost set in the invitational, she grabbed the last set of her first match 10-6. After competing in just five singles competitions as a third-year student, Mulholland’s dominant performance indicated the potential of a bounceback season.

Following Mulholland’s lead was first-year student Katrin Gurvich, finishing her first collegiate match 2-1 in the singles competition.

Gurvich went up against Nina Dillwald from West Virginia State University. After losing the second set 1-6, she demonstrated her poise heading into the decisive third set. The rookie grabbed a 10-5 win in the last set to claim the match victory.

Other Spartan individual winners were third-year student Peyton Young (1-1), fourth-year student Jennifer Lowe (1-0) and second-year student Jessica Liu (1-0). All three veterans won their matches without requiring a third set.

The Spartans success carried over into the double matches as well.

Mulholland added to her strong individual showing with a 2-1 record in doubles. The fourth-year went 1-1 with first-year student Lauren Beier and 1-0 with Gurvich. Despite an 8-2 loss against a strong Ohio Northern University pair, Mulholland and Gurvich defeated West Virginia State 8-3 and the Mulholland/Beier combination handily took down an Oberlin pair 8-3. Head Coach Kirsten Gambrell was impressed with the doubles victories from these pairings of experienced and younger players. She said, “We have a terrific balance of upperclassmen leaders and young talent and energy.”

Third-year student Nina Cepeda started off her season in a big way. Despite a closely contested loss in singles, Cepeda finished 3-0 in doubles. The combination of Cepeda and Lowe proved powerful, going 2-0 during the tournament. Cepeda and Lowe’s close matchup against Slippery Rock University demonstrated the duo’s strength. While Cepeda lost to Nina Barbano from Slippery Rock in singles, Cepeda took down Barbano in doubles in this battle of Ninas.

When discussing the meet, Gambrell emphasized the health and conditioning of the team. Speaking on the exhausting three day tournament, Gambrell said “I was very pleased with the way the team held up physically. We played a lot of matches in a short amount of time.” CWRU has a few weekends off from competition before traveling to Kalamazoo, Michigan to participate in the ITA Central Region Fall Championships from Sept. 30—Oct. 2.