On Sept. 30, senior Erin Brezovar and junior Bailey Higgins competed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional Championship. This year, ITA was in St. Louis. According to Head Coach John Black, this provided Webster University with some built-in positives.
“We didn’t have to travel and we were able to have spectators, friends and teammates come out and cheer them on,” Black said.
Looking back at their matches, both players reflected on their improvements by comparing this year’s tournament to last year’s.
“All of our matches that we played in singles and doubles were really close,” Brezovar said. “They were all hard fought, we were right there with our opponents. Last year, we had a few matches, especially in doubles, where it wasn’t very close.”
Black had similar highlights.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t take home any wins, but we played well,” Black said. “We competed really strong and in pretty much every match we played we were right there with the other team, and we had some close ones that unfortunately didn’t go our way. Overall, I was very happy with how we played.”
Even though the pair didn’t advance as much as they had hoped, they weren’t defeated by the loss and instead saw it as an opportunity for improvement.
“It really just prepares us for the spring season because that’s our main conference season,” Brezovar said. “Having these good opponents sets us up for that.”
In fact, when commenting on their second doubles match, Higgins revealed they aren’t discouraged if they are down a few points early in the match.
“We always joke that you know we’re the comeback team,” Higgins said.
While this tournament may not have been the peak of the fall season, the team has worked hard for the spring season already.
“Our game and level improved throughout the fall,” Black said. “I think we’ve seen that we can compete with the top teams in our conference.”
As the holders of the school record for the most doubles wins, Brezovar and Higgins have had several successes, but one stands out in particular.
“It’s always great to beat Greenville . . . We beat them in doubles and overall,” Higgins said.
“They are our rivals,” Brezovar added.
“We’re kind of friendly with them,” Higgins said. “They were on the court next to us at ITA and I was like, ‘let’s go Panthers,’ but they didn’t cheer back. I like to think there’s a little friendship.”
Even outside of ITA, Brezovar and Higgins have set other good examples off the court.
“Both [Brezovar] and [Higgins] are basically our two most senior players,” Black said. “They both really stepped up and [have] taken a leadership role on the team. [They] really help in bringing everyone closer together as a team. They have done a really good job of that.”
Especially with new players on the team, Brezovar and Higgins have brought the team together in many ways. Not only did they host a spaghetti night in their apartment but also help in small ways throughout the season.
“[We] make sure that everyone is cheering for each other during the matches,” Brezovar said. “We always try to go to the guys’ matches if they are playing at a different time than us.”
While the fall season may not have ended on as high of a note as they hoped, the tennis team certainly plans to come back strong as they continue to prepare for the championship in the spring.