Women’s tennis wins two of three matches in trip to Chicago

Webster University women's tennis player Marissa Lewis
Webster University freshman Marissa Lewis hits a backhand prior to the Gorloks’ scheduled Sept. 27 match with Fontbonne University in Clayton. The match was canceled due to Fontbonne not having enough players. PHOTO BY MAX BOUVATTE

The Webster University women’s tennis team went on a road trip to Chicago last weekend for team bonding, relaxation and tennis. The Gorloks came away from the trip with two wins and one loss.
The Gorloks defeated Millikin University 8-1 on Sept. 23 in Decatur, Ill., and easily handled Elmhurst College, 7-2, in Chicago the next day. Webster was turned back later that day by Division II Saint Joseph’s College, 7-2.
“This is the first time our girls made a trip anywhere,” coach Michael Siener said. “Usually we stay here locally, except for the national tournament.”
Siener said he thought traveling would be a huge team builder. The Gorloks have six freshmen from around the country who are still getting to know their teammates.
“To play teams we normally don’t see in our region is important, but I arrange these trips for the good of the girls and the team,” Siener said. “It’s good for the girls to be stuck in a van for five hours with their teammates. You start to learn more about your teammates.”
Webster travels back to northeast Illinois to play Aurora University and Concordia University-Chicago on Oct. 2.
“I had never been on a trip like this before,” freshman Marissa Lewis said. “I had never even traveled in high school for any matches. It was fantastic.”
Lewis, who won her first four matches of the weekend before losing two matches to Saint Joseph’s, said it was interesting to see a different side of her teammates and coach.
“When coach Siener played Lil’ Wayne, it was very unique,” Lewis said. “I had to laugh because I never knew coach liked that kind of music.”
Siener said he has continuously stressed to the team that tennis is a team sport.
“It’s not where you play, but how you match up is important,” Siener said. “Tennis is not always how good you are at No. 1, but more important is how good four through six is.”
Lewis said all the women are strong competitors and can play any spot. She added that most of the time, the team doesn’t know who’s playing until right before the match begins.
“We help each other out no matter who is playing,” Lewis said. “Our girls are very equal with each other.”
Against Millikin, Webster swept the doubles 3-0 to open the match and then took singles 5-1. Besides Lewis’ and Wilder’s victories, seniors Allison Tungate and Paige Tungate, junior Lindsey Hays and freshmen  Isabella Espinoza,  Lauren Hacker and Kathleen Kennedy were victorious in either doubles or singles matches.
In the victory over Elmhurst, Allison Tungate, Paige Tungate, Lewis, Hays and Hacker all picked up wins.
Wilder said going to Chicago exceeded her expectations, and she looks forward to some great competition and sightseeing on the team’s next trip.
“We did not have enough time to do much this past trip, but next week we are going to Michigan Avenue to do some shopping and see the town,” Wilder said.
The loss to Saint Joseph’s was the Gorloks’ first of the season and put them at 4-1 on the year.
“We are going back to Chicago to face more talented teams,” Siener said. “This will be another good experience for the girls. This is something they can tell their parents about, and we can talk about a long time from now.”

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