At its final dual meet of the season, women’s tennis lost at Wayne State University Wednesday 7 – 2, ending the season on a sour note.
The loss concludes a difficult season, putting the Chargers at a 4 – 7 losing record. Still, the team is heading into a week and a half of practice leading up to the conference tournament in Midland, Michigan, Oct. 28 – 30 with enthusiasm to challenge their GLIAC opponents for the final time, before Hillsdale College joins the GMAC conference in January.
“It’s always exciting to see a team again because you know exactly how to play the girls,” senior Dana Grace Buck said. “You know how to win, and if you lost to them, you want that revenge.”
Buck said many of the competitions she and her teammates faced were close enough that the match could have gone either way.
“Usually, they don’t best us twice,” Buck said.
At Wayne State, the Chargers had hoped to overcome a losing weekend, but they couldn’t pull ahead. It was a disappointing loss, given that Hillsdale beat Wayne State last year, Buck said.
At No. 2 doubles, Buck and sophomore Madeline Bissett beat their opponents 8 – 4. During the singles competitions, only sophomore Halle Hyman won 6 – 2, 2 – 1 in the No. 1 spot. Her opponent defaulted because of an injury.
The loss comes after a difficult weekend, when the Chargers lost their final two home matches, falling to Northwood University 8 – 1 Saturday and Saginaw Valley State University 6 – 3 Sunday.
“Although it was disappointing to lose both, we had some great individual performances each day,” coach Nikki Walbright said.
Against Northwood, who is undefeated, sophomore Halle Hyman shined, Walbright said. Hyman sent her opponent into three hard-fought sets at No. 1 singles, coming out as the only victorious Charger of the day. She won 4 – 6, 6 – 2, 10 – 4.
Going into Sunday against Saginaw Valley, Buck said the team had high hopes for a win.
“We wanted to use Saturday to get warmed up for Sunday,” Buck said. “We knew Sunday would be very tough but attainable.”
It started strong, with the Chargers ahead after the doubles competitions 2 – 1. At No. 1 singles, Hyman and freshman Katie Bell defeated their opponents 8 – 5. At 8 – 4, sophomore Madeline Bissett and Buck won at No. 3, giving Buck her 45th career win in doubles on Senior Day.
“I’ve been so blessed to have tennis all four years,” Buck said. “I have nothing to be sad about because I’ve had the most wonderful experience. The team, they’re my best friends.”
Buck said the team fought especially hard on Sunday.
“We were literally so scrappy, throwing everything we had out there,” Buck said. “Despite what the score said, you would not have known who was winning and who was losing.”
During singles, however, the Cardinals got the best of the Chargers. At No. 6 singles, only freshman Kamryn Matthews triumphed, at 6 – 3, 6 – 3.
“It’s hard because tennis is an individual support, but it’s a team sport,” Matthews said. “It’s hard to celebrate that accomplishment because we lost…It’s hard because we had it right there.”
But Matthews said the team is looking forward to the tournament.
“It’s a second chance,” she said. “We want to give the GLIAC something to remember us by.”