Over spring break, the Hillsdale College tennis team headed to Florida to face multiple colleges, including two Division I schools, in preparation for its final two home matches.
The Chargers’ first match was on Wednesday against Broward College, a DII Florida school.
The team had a couple of individual wins, but fell short of an overall win with a score of 6 – 3.
After practicing indoor all offseason and spring season, head coach Nikki Walbright said that the team just needed to adjust to the different weather conditions of the outdoor courts as well as the difference in court surfaces.
“It was a tough adjustment at first,” Walbright said. “It definitely threw consistency off a little bit, but we still had really great matches and points.”
Junior Morgan Delp said that the Broward match was probably one of the toughest days due to the high temperatures, wind, and getting used to those changes, while the other team had been playing in those conditions all year.
“It was kind of a wake up call. We didn’t come out with ‘guns firing’ as we would have liked, but we were able to work and improve for the second match.”
On Thursday, the Chargers faced DI Florida Atlantic University, and fell 9 – 0.
Despite the loss, the team was encouraged with the quality and improvement of their playing from the first match to the second.
“The girls definitely came out with a renewed sense of energy and great footwork,” Walbright said. “We get used to playing the teams in this area and it’s kind of a nice reminder that there are different styles and personalities and ways to play the game. So I was really glad the girls had the opportunity to push themselves.”
The final match against Buffalo State College was a Charger loss, 9 – 0.
Junior Lindsay Peirce said that the team played a little tired and let some points go that they shouldn’t have allowed.
“We definitely had some opportunities as a team to capitalize on some points in games and I think that we just let it slip away unfortunately,” Peirce said. “But our communication from court to court, like the cheering and the “go, go, gos,” that was important. And I think it’s important in any match to add that team camaraderie.”
Along with showing support for each other on the court, the team also was able to develop and strengthen team bonds off the court.
Since this was the team’s first time to be able to travel to Florida for spring break, Peirce said one of her favorite parts of the trip was the team’s free day, because it allowed the girls to spend time with teammates off the court for a little bit.
“I think this trip was a great thing for us,” Peirce said. “Our team doesn’t have to be strictly about tennis. We are first and foremost a family.”