Despite victory pried from the women’s tennis team by the University of Northwestern Ohio, the G‑MAC recognized a freshman for her fight.
The conference office named Hannah Cimpeanu as its Player of the Week on Tuesday. Cimpeanu contributed half of the score for Hillsdale College, which fell 5 – 4 to the Racers on Saturday in Toledo in the non-league match. The Chargers are now 1 – 2 this season, but they’re the No. 1 pick in the conference by head coaches, according to Ben Schlesselman, G‑MAC assistant coordinator for strategic communications.
“Hannah is one of many names on the Hillsdale roster that I anticipate the league will get used to hearing this season,” he said in an email. “It is exciting to see the Hillsdale athletic department have considerable success in every sport during their first year with the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.”
Although the Chargers lost, the matches were close and showed some of the best competitive play from the women that coach Nikki Walbright said she has seen from them.
“The girls did everything they could,” Walbright said. “They were exhausted afterward. It was a tough team.”
Hillsdale started with a lead after doubles play with Cimpeanu and junior Halle Hyman winning 9 – 7 at No. 2 and junior Madeline Bissett and sophomore Kamryn Matthews finding victory 8 – 3 at No. 3.
“We stayed really positive and were there for each other and gave it our all,” Cimpeanu said. “I saw that for doubles, confidence is key and you need communication to keep it tight on the court.”
Sophomore Katie Bell and junior Corinne Prost lost in a close 9 – 8 matchup at No. 1 doubles.
“Although they lost, it was probably the best I’ve seen them play,” Walbright said. “The team they were playing was really competitive and were heavy hitters. It was an unfortunate loss.”
Coming off doubles wins, Cimpeanu and Bissett won their singles matches: Cimpeanu at No. 2, 6 – 4, 6 – 2 in the game’s most decisive victory and Bissett at No. 6, 6 – 1, 5 – 7, 6 – 3.
Long singles matches, however, stretched Hillsdale, as half of the matchups entered a tie-breaking third round. Prost at No. 4 fell 6 – 1, 4 – 6, 6 – 3 and Matthews at No. 5, 3 – 6, 6 – 4, 6 – 1.
In stiff competition, Bell at No.1 fell 7 – 5, 6 – 4, and Hyman at No. 3, 6 – 2, 7 – 5.
“As we get tired, we need to fight through it,” Walbright said. “We need to win while being really exhausted and working under some pressure points.”
As Player of the Week, Cimpeanu joins Bell in her recognition for the honor for the 2017 – 2018 academic year. Cimpeanu is the 26th Charger to receive the award this year across all programs.
“It’s really nice to know hard work pays off,” Cimpeanu said.
On Saturday, women’s tennis is scheduled to play former GLIAC rival Ferris State University at 1 p.m. in Big Rapids, Michigan. The Chargers have never defeated the Bulldogs, according to Walbright, but their last meeting in October 2016 was a narrow 5 – 4 loss.
“We’re just trying to bring our best tennis out, and hopefully we’re feeling really good,” she said.