November 27, 2020

Women’s tennis gets revenge against Westminster

Webster University senior Paige Tungate rips a forehand during a March 22 match against Westminster College in Columbia, Mo. Tungate helped the Gorloks beat the Blue Jays 8-1, as Webster improved to 11-1 overall (2-0 in the SLIAC). Westminster ended Webster’s 2011 season in the SLIAC tournament semifinals. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY MACKENZIE WILDER.

The Webster University women’s team avenged last year’s season-ending loss to Westminster College with a victory in Columbia, Mo., on March 22. Westminster beat the Gorloks 5-4 in a 2011 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament semifinal.

“It was nice to get our revenge on them,” senior Allison Tungate said. “Last year was a really tough loss. (This win) kind of showed them that we’re one of the strongest teams in the conference.”

The women’s team dealt with the Blue Jays by orchestrating a dominant 8-1 victory. Tungate, lined up at No. 2 singles, defeated her opponent 6-2, 6-0. Freshmen Lauren Hacker, Marissa Lewis and Mackenzie Wilder, along with junior Lindsey Hays, earned victories in singles play.

Webster’s doubles teams swept Westminster with wins from the duos of Allison Tungate and senior Paige Tungate, Hacker and Hays, and Lewis and freshman Kathleen Kennedy.

Coach Michael Siener attributed this year’s regular-season victory against Westminster to the new freshman recruits and the overall depth of the team.

“(Westminster) pretty much had the exact same team as last year,” Siener said. “We’ve got an entire different roster. With recruiting and bringing in some better players to bolster our lineup and make it deeper, that was the major adjustment.”

Allison Tungate said the upperclassmen’s experience and help from the freshmen combined to give Webster the victory.

“We took care of business,” Allison Tungate said. “A huge part of it is that we have experience between Lindsey, myself and Paige. It’s a winning combination — a strong freshman class and strong upper-class leadership. That kind of goes hand-in-hand. We’re showing the underclassmen what it takes to win and to compete against our SLIAC competition.”

With the win, the Gorloks remain undefeated in spring action and improved their record to 11-1 overall (2-0 SLIAC) in the 2011-2012 campaign. The team has also won seven straight matches, dating back to the fall season.

Allison Tungate said she is excited about the unbeaten spring record, but knows tougher matches are ahead.

“I’ve never been in this position before,” Allison Tungate said. “Looking at our schedule, the only matches that will be really tough are Washington University and Principia College. It gives us a little bit of confidence going into all of our matches (knowing) that we are good competitors.”

Webster will face the Principia Panthers on April 14 for a home finale at the Webster Groves Tennis Center. For the last match of the regular season, Webster will travel to Washington University, currently ranked 14th nationally, on April 17.

Siener said the Gorloks need to stay focused and healthy to keep their success rolling.

“It’s been a long year,” Siener said. “We have 12 weeks left. Keeping our legs fresh, staying healthy — that’s extremely important. I haven’t really seen any letdowns with them or any lack of focus. That’s been nice.”

Webster will host Missouri Baptist University (4-7) at 6:30 p.m. on March 29 at the Webster Groves Tennis Center. After that, the make-up match at Eureka College will be played at 2 p.m. on March 31 in Eureka, Ill.

Allison Tungate said being confident and not putting too much pressure on themselves will be keys for the Gorloks’ upcoming spring matches.

“We don’t want to start playing to not lose; we want to play to win,” Allison Tungate said. “We need to stay focused and keep our eye on the prize and not take any team for granted. We need to stay a little bit grounded, but at the same time confident.”

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