The Case Western Reserve University women’s tennis team made two trips over spring break, traveling to Orlando, Florida and Fredericksburg, Virginia, where they completed six matches. CWRU finished the break with a 5-1 record in which they had victories over University of Texas-Tyler, Swarthmore College, No. 37 East Texas Baptist University, Bates College and No. 16 University of Mary Washington before falling to No. 19 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Spartans opened up with three wins in warm Orlando. Head Coach Kristen Gambrell was very pleased that her team was able to go outside and get exposure to playing in the heat.
“We were in Orlando playing outside and it was hot,” said Gambrell. “It was good [University Athletic Association (UAA)] preparation, as we will be playing outside in Florida then.”
The Spartans then went to the Blue-Grey Invitational hosted by Mary Washington, and due to colder than normal weather, the Spartans had to play another three matches indoors. Gambrell noted that the team had to play a different style when indoors, as the balls bounce harder, which means the team has to play more aggressively. CWRU won their first two matches before falling to MIT in the finals.
Against MIT, CWRU was up 2-1 after doubles but lost five out of the six singles matches. Gambrell was pleased with the way her team came out, but she knows that in order to compete at the level her team is capable of, they will need to learn how to finish matches.
“The biggest part of the trip for me was how strong our doubles are, they have come on really strong,” said Gambrell.
But when it came to the singles against MIT she added, “They seemed to make a lot of great shots against us and grind out points—when the points went longer we struggled.”
The Spartans only have three matches until the UAA championships at the end of April, which gives Coach Gambrell a lot of time to get her team to keep improving.
“We are going to work on getting healthier and fitter,” said Gambrell. “If we can accomplish those things I think we can be really successful at UAAs.”