The Webster University women’s tennis team served up a pair of victories and improved its record to 5-0 with wins over St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents Eureka College (Ill.) and Westminster College (Mo.) on Saturday, March 23 at the Webster Groves Tennis Center (WGTC).
The Gorloks’ 7-2 win over Eureka was fueled by sophomore Kathleen Kennedy and freshman Kaylen Kress. Their combined record is now 10-0. Sophomore Hillary Fitz also remained undefeated on the season, improving her overall record to 9-0 with a win in both singles and doubles matches.
Against the Red Devils, senior Lindsey Hays lost her singles match at the No. 1 position 6-4, 2-6, 4-6. Fitz won at No. 2 singles 7-5, 6-2. At No. 3, Kress swept her opponent 6-0, 6-0. Kennedy won at No. 4 singles 6-2, 6-1. Freshman Tia Hewuse won 6-0, 6-1 at the No. 5 spot, and freshman Rebekka Lancaster dropped her match at No. 6, 1-6, 1-6.
In doubles versus Eureka, the duo of Hays and Fitz won 8-4 at No. 1. The No. 2 doubles partners Kennedy and Kress won 8-1. Sophomores Isabella Espinoza and Mackenzie Wilder came out victorious 8-0.
Kennedy said the new talent on this year’s team has been a factor in the Gorloks’ early success.
“We have a pretty young team, and we have new talent coming in like Kress, who’s one of the top freshman,” Kennedy said. “She’s been helping us out a lot.”
In Webster’s 8-1 victory over Westminster, Hays won her singles match at No. 1 by forfeit. Fitz won at No. 2 singles 6-1, 6-1. Kress took home a victory at the No. 3 position 6-3, 7-5. At the No. 4 slot, Kennedy was successful with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Espinoza lost at No. 5, 2-6, 2-6, and Wilder won at No. 6, 6-1, 6-1.
In doubles play against the Bluejays, Hays and Fitz won at No. 1 by forfeit. Kress and Kennedy took an 8-0 win at No. 2. In the No. 3 spot, Espinoza and Wilder defeated their opponents 8-2.
Espinoza had a pair of doubles wins over the weekend and said the team is playing well.
“So far, I think we’re all staying focused,” Espinoza said. “(We’re) taking each game one at a time and doing our best and going out there with a good, positive mentality.”
After the two wins this weekend, the Gorloks find themselves on top of the SLIAC standings with a 3-0 record in conference play. Principia College (Ill.) is 4-3 (2-0 SLIAC) and currently in second place.
Kennedy said the wins over the weekend were important if the team wants to repeat as SLIAC champions.
The Gorloks travel to Principia on Thursday, April 11 in the final conference match of the season. Principia has won 14 conference tournament championships from 1992-2011.
“I think it was a pretty big deal for us to win (against Westminster and Eureka) because it shows we haven’t really lost anything from last year, and we can keep up and possibly win conference again,” Kennedy said.
Espinoza agreed with her teammate.
“I think it puts us in a good position to go ahead and repeat what we did last year,” Espinoza said. “I think this weekend was a good step in repeating that.”
The Gorloks play on the road against nonconference foe Lindenwood University-Belleville (lll.) on Thursday, March 28 at 3:30 p.m., and play Greenville College on Tuesday, April 2 at WGTC at 6 p.m.