The Webster University women’s tennis team traveled to Hilton Head, S.C. for their annual spring break season opener. The Gorloks went undefeated against the four schools they played.
The matches played in Hilton Head kicked off the team’s spring season after going 2-5 in the fall season.
Webster started off by facing Kutztown University. The Gorloks won all nine matches, including three doubles matches.
“We played a couple tough teams. A couple were easy, like Kutztown was pretty easy,” sophomore Monica Behrle said. “We struggled in the beginning, but I think we overcame the problems we were having on the court. We fixed them and we started playing better.”
Their second opponent was Carroll University. Webster won a close match 5-4. Behrle, senior Kaylen Kress, freshman Sara Rice and sophomore Stephanie Lass all won their singles matches, giving the Gorloks four points going into their doubles games.
The pairing of Behrle and freshman Madison Watts clinched the victory for the Gorloks; they won their match 8-4.
The third match was another 9-0 victory against Lebanon Valley College.
Through the first three games, Rice and Watts had a combined record of 10-2 in their singles and doubles matches.
“I think we got some pretty good new players, you know, freshmen coming out strong,” Behrle said. “I think they’ve really improved since our fall season.”
The final match against Roanoke College was a close 5-4 finish. The Gorloks trailed 2-1 after all the doubles matches. Only the Behrle/Watts pairing won their match.
The Gorloks’ first three lines won their singles matches, pushing their lead to 4-2. After Rice’s first singles loss in South Carolina and a loss by sophomore Jesse Steffens-Willis, Lass won her match over Arabella Goralski 6-0, 6-2.
The win gave the Gorloks a 4-0 sweep of their competition over the break.
“I think we all pretty much got better throughout the week,” Behrle said. “We were tired because we had a couple 8 a.m. [games] and a 9 a.m.”
Behrle went undefeated in both single and doubles matches and was awarded St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Behrle took over line one from graduated senior Marissa Lewis.
Behrle played line two during her freshman year.
“Line two is a little bit more relaxed. You feel like there is a lot more pressure at line one because you’re at the top spot. I try to bring it down and be like ‘well, don’t worry about it too much,’” Behrle said. “Every single line counts. You each get a point for every win, no matter what line you’re at. So, I do my best to put in my one point in doubles and singles.”
After Behrle, the next five lines, in order, consist of Kress, Watts, Rice, Steffens-Willis and Lass.
Being a freshman, Rice said she relied on her teammates to help her get through the week.
“It was great to have my team there, who had been there before. They were able to help me with my mental game,” Rice said. “I was tired physically and mentally. I had never played that much tennis in one week before. I just needed [Behrle’s] help. She gave me her little New Testament Bible to really help me remember what was important.”
The Gorloks’ next home match is against Rhodes College March 25.