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Sophomore Halle Hyman received First-Team All-GLIAC honors for the second year in a row. Hyman was one of three Chargers who received All-GLIAC honors this season. (Photo: Todd Lan­caster / Courtesy)

Entering the GLIAC tour­nament as the last, eighth seed, Hillsdale College women’s tennis took seventh Sunday, ending its time in the con­ference with a win during its final in-season match until spring 2018.

The Chargers went 1 – 2 this weekend, losing to Northwood and Saginaw Valley State uni­ver­sities and beating Michigan Tech, during its final GLIAC matches before Hillsdale switches to the GMAC con­ference in the 2017 – 2018 aca­demic year. The tournament’s results leave the team with a 5 – 9 record for the season.

“The season was a good balance of returners and two new freshmen who were very strong,” coach Nikki Wal­bright said. “Everyone pulled together really well, and we def­i­nitely saw a pro­gression over the season.”

Three players received All-GLIAC honors fol­lowing the tour­nament. After fighting some of the toughest oppo­nents at No. 1 singles with an overall record of 8 – 3, sophomore Halle Hyman received First-Team All-GLIAC for the second year in a row.

“I am really happy that all my hard work paid off,” Hyman said. “It is a very good feeling knowing I had a suc­cessful season.”

Despite a back injury this season, freshman Katie Bell overcame the chal­lenge with a 14 – 8 season to earn Second-Team All-GLIAC.

“I was so sur­prised because of my back injury, and I couldn’t play all the time,” Bell said. “I was so happy I could play all three days during the tour­nament.”

Ending her final season by making All-GLIAC for the first time, senior Dana Grace Buck received hon­orable mention honors.

Buck, along with sophomore Madeline Bissett, swept in their doubles com­pe­tition Friday through Sunday at No. 3, giving Buck her 49th career doubles victory as one of the best doubles players in Hillsdale’s history. The duo earned the college its sole point 8 – 6 in the quar­ter­finals against unde­feated Northwood on Friday. Northwood earned five points on the Chargers.

“Everyone was right there sup­porting court three,” Wal­bright said. “Even though they were tech­ni­cally the first seed, you wouldn’t really know it, if you were watching the match. The girls were right in there with them on every court.”

On Sat­urday, the tennis team faced No. 5 Saginaw Valley in the con­so­lation bracket. The Chargers lost 5 – 2, with Hyman winning in singles 6 – 4, 7 – 5 along with Buck and Bissett in doubles 8 – 4.

Hyman beat SVSU senior Izabella Ismailova, who she played at a home match on Oct. 16.

“I was able to defeat a girl I lost to in normal season, which was a good feeling,” Hyman said.

By Sunday, after playing two long, hard-fought matches, the players were exhausted, Wal­bright said.

“It’s hard to prepare for three really intense days of tennis,” Wal­bright said. “It was just very draining, so that’s def­i­nitely the biggest chal­lenge.”

Despite this, the women fought hard in the seventh-place match and came out vic­to­rious 5 – 1 against No. 7 Michigan Tech, who had beaten Hillsdale during the regular season.

“It was a nice achievement that we could do that, even though we were all so exhausted,” Bell said.

Buck and Bissett won 8 – 3, and the Hyman-Bell team won 8 – 6 at No. 1 doubles. In singles, Bell won 6 – 3, 6 – 3 at No. 2, and Bissett earned the Chargers a point in her match, coming in vic­to­rious 6 – 3, 6 – 3 at No. 4 singles. Sophomore Julia For­mentin swept 6 – 0, 6 – 0 at the No. 6 spot.

The team now heads into the off­season for more than a year, as the women’s tennis season moves from the fall to the spring in the GMAC, though it will have non-cham­pi­onship spring and fall matches leading up to its first in-season matches in 2018.

“It’ll be a little strange coming from the intense season we just had to now it’s over, and it’s going to be over a year before we get into season play,” Wal­bright said. “I’m looking forward to it. I think a spring season is more con­ducive to how a tennis season should be.”

The fall will give players the oppor­tunity to train after the summer instead of imme­di­ately starting matches upon their return.

“It was hard going from the pre­season into matches with school starting and classes,” Bell said.

For now, though, the women are resting up after the three-day tour­nament and have plans to focus on their tech­nique and fitness before playing matches on the court again. They will also reflect on the season and seek out ways to improve for the future, even if it appears far away for now.

“This was the last season that our team would be in the GLIAC, and I think we all tried our best to leave our mark on the con­ference,” Hyman said.