Women’s tennis team hold onto second place

Sylvie Luiten

A recent loss against top-ranked Linfield women’s tennis team has put a dark cloud over the Whitman team’s goal of winning the conference championships this year and ensuring a berth at Nationals.

Credit: Faith Bernstein

“This is definitely our most competitive season and the best that we’ve ever done in the conference. We have three players ranked in the west region, and it’s definitely a challenge having a bigger team, but it’s the best the team has been since I’ve been here,” said senior Charlotte Scott.

The women have won 13 of their 17 matches this season and are 8-2 in the Northwest Conference. Whitman is currently ranked second in the NWC after their loss to Linfield last Friday. While this does not take them out of the running for Nationals, the Whitman ladies will need to beat Linfield at the conference championships in order to get an automatic entry to Nationals. Even if they place second at the NWC championships they could receive an invitation based on regional rankings.

One essential contribution this year is the large class of first-years. “Every year is different, this year from the last few years, we’re definitely deeper, and we’ve done a lot better in doubles, and that comes from both the players that have been here improving their singles and doubles, and we have a big class of five freshman, which is not unusual, but on the larger side for a tennis team,” said coach John Hein.

Credit: Faith Bernstein

With such a big team, unity becomes more of a challenge. “We’ve had pretty good team unity; we have all traveled together for almost all of our matches, and we all practice together, which is really good, because you get to know each other and have fun. Lineups are important, but since there are so many of us that aren’t necessarily playing anyway we keep together really well” said Scott.

“Tennis is a sport that, as we get better, it puts more pressure internally on the team to be really unified moving forward, and we just have such great individuals that work well together. They’re hard on themselves, and they push themselves, but it makes us better, and there’s a lot of support,” said Hein.

Part of the team’s success is the support they receive from family. “One thing about the families on our team is that they take really good care of the entire team, so if you’re ever around a tennis player’s house, you’ll get dinner,” said Scott. During their training trip to Texas, where the women won four of their five matches, the team also had dinner at the home of the Lawless family.

“Its just such a great team and a great group of girls; it’s enhanced her experience and it’s a little family. She’s had the opportunity to travel and meet kids she wouldn’t have met, and it’s really added to her experience at Whitman,” said Mary and Layne Rolston of their daughter’s experience with tennis.

Winning the Northwest Conference championships is the best chance the women’s tennis team has of advancing to Nationals. The women’s next match is against George Fox on Friday, April 13.