By Ryan Jecha
After wins over Blackburn College, Eureka College and Missouri Baptist University this past week, the Webster University women’s tennis team is on a 10-match winning streak.
Webster is 14-1 overall and 4-0 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. The 14 wins are the most in a single season in Webster women’s tennis history. But that does not mean the Gorloks plan on taking any of their opponents lightly.
“We know that anyone can win any day,” Lewis said. “We have our good days and our bad days. We try to be really humble about it. We don’t think we’re going to (beat) everyone every time.”
On April 3, Webster took down Blackburn 7-0 at a home match at the Webster Groves Tennis Center. Senior Allison Tungate improved her record on the year to 13-2 in singles play. She said the Gorloks try their best to not let the success go to their heads.
“Obviously, we’ve been on a roll,” Tungate said. “We try to stay grounded and not underestimate any of our opponents. We’ve all been winning pretty easily. With each win, we’re learning more about our game, and with that comes more confidence.”
The Gorloks had another strong showing as they won a road match over Eureka, 8-1, on April 1. Webster only dropped two sets total, and won their games by an aggregate score of 87-22.
The lone loss was taken by senior Paige Tungate in No. 1 singles. She fell to Catrina Holloway, the only player on Eureka’s squad with a win this season. Paige Tungate avenged that loss when she won in No. 1 doubles with her sister, Allison Tungate. The Tungates defeated Holloway and Kate West 8-6.
The highlight of the week was Webster’s matchup with the Missouri Baptist Spartans. As an NAIA school, Missouri Baptist can give scholarships to its athletes, while Division-III schools like Webster cannot.
With the competition at a high level, the Gorloks rose to the challenge and dominated Missouri Baptist 9-0. The Gorloks won their games by an aggregate score of 98-38.
In the No. 1 singles spot, junior Lindsey Hays defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-2. With most of her wins this season coming in No. 4 singles, Hays stepped up to deliver a big-time performance.
“I feel like we’re strong all the way through,” said Lewis, who won 6-3, 6-1 in No. 2 singles over Missouri Baptist. “It’s just as important to be as strong at the top as we are at the back. We’re all equal players, so wherever our coach puts us at that day, we just play.”
The victory over Missouri Baptist carried special meaning for some older players, such as Allison Tungate, who won 6-3, 6-0 in No. 3 singles.
“In my freshman and sophomore years, we’ve always struggled against Missouri Baptist,” Allison Tungate said. “So to beat them was amazing. It shows that D-III schools are competitive, and we don’t need scholarship money to compete.”
The Gorloks will attempt to extend their winning streak when they travel to Greenville, Ill., to take on SLIAC foe Greenville College on April 5. Assistant coach Martha Davis believes it’s a winning streak that could continue due to the Gorloks’ looseness.
“It’s a very fun team,” Davis said. “You don’t see any of the nerves coming through when they play. At the same time, we’re setting the goal high this year, and they’re taking it seriously. They know where the expectations are.”