(Photo: Courtesy / Hillsdale Col­legian)

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.