The Hillsdale College women’s tennis team completed a clean sweep of Ursuline College 7 – 0 before losing to Walsh University 1 – 4, clinching a spot in the G‑MAC Tournament as the fourth and final seed.
Going into the weekend, junior Canela Luna said she knew the match against Ursuline would be an easy win, while the match against Walsh would be more challenging.
“Ursuline is not nearly as hard of a match as Walsh is, so we were kind of expecting to beat Ursuline then have a full line up so it was kind of a given,” Luna said. “We just had to show up and hit the ball and I knew we were going to win.”
Freshman Libby McGivern said she was pumped for the matches going into the weekend.
“I felt excited about the competition going into the weekend,” McGivern said. “I hadn’t had my best performance the previous weekend and I was feeling much better about my game and the team’s energy so I was excited for a better match.”
Hillsdale’s squad completed a perfect sweep of Ursuline. In both singles and doubles, each player won their match in straight sets without giving up a single game. Luna won her doubles match with Sophia Spinazze against Megan Fortney and Alex Pignatiello, and won her singles match against Ursuline player Alex Pignatiello 6 – 0, 6 – 0.
Luna said one of her favorite moments during the match against Ursuline was when freshman Melanie Zampardo played what she called a golden set.
“I thought it was pretty cool that against Ursuline, Melanie had a golden set which means she didn’t lose a single point in the entire set,” Luna said. “That’s hard to do even against a team that’s not that great.”
Despite the overall loss against Walsh the following day, several women had victories in their individual matches.
In doubles, Zampardo and senior Sarah Hackman won their match 6 – 3. In singles, Hackman grabbed the Chargers lone point with a win in her match, 6 – 3, 1 – 6, 7 – 5.
“The doubles match Mel and I played against Walsh was particularly memorable because we had been down 3 – 4 and were able to break the other team’s serve and then hold ours, which was a huge turning point in the match for us,” Hackman said.
McGivern said despite her losses, she was proud of her performance against Walsh.
“In my match against Walsh even though I lost I’d say a highlight was fighting back the third set after dropping the second because the weekend before, my fight just wasn’t there,” McGivern said. “I was proud of myself for powering through even though I was physically hurting.”
McGivern said she wishes she had used her slices better against Walsh.
“I think I could have done more to change the pace and stay in points longer when she was running me around,” McGivern said. “I also wish I would have hit more swinging volleys off her high balls to take time away and end the point.”
Luna said she wishes she had stayed more mentally focused.
“I wish we had closed the doubles match in Walsh because we were up, and stayed calm and didn’t let it bother us,” Luna said. “When we were up, a bunch of people came and it got in my head.”
Heading into the postseason, McGivern said she is proud to see the team’s improvement.
“I think this has been a great season for the team and has really shown how strong we are this year because last year the team was extremely injured at this point in the season,” McGivern said. “This season, we have been extremely healthy both as a team environment and physically. I am excited to see how this season ends.”
Hillsdale made the tournament last year as the No.4 seed, and knocked off No.1 Tiffin and No.3 Walsh on their way to a conference tournament win.
The Chargers will play next against No.1 seed Findlay for the G‑MAC tournament semifinal. The game will take place at Findlay on April 22, 2:30 p.m.