Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Women’s Tennis Sets Sights on Regionals

Photo by Alecia Lindsay

The Whitman women’s tennis team had a stellar season last year, winning the Northwest Conference and making the first round of the national tournament. But that wasn’t enough for the team. This year they set their sights not only on winning conference and making nationals, but staying undefeated in conference play and making the elite eight round, which means getting past the first round of playoffs, or regionals.

Already having accomplished many of their goals, like staying undefeated and hosting and winning the conference, the team can now look to their biggest goal of getting into the elite eight. This season brought a few changes to what the team does regularly and how they prepare for games.
“Our team is really adamant about goal-setting and visualizing. Before each season, we typically make a ‘contract’ with communal team goals that we basically sign and agree to commit to,” said sophomore Katrina Allick. As small as tennis teams are relative to other sports teams, the loss of two key seniors from last season had the potential to be an issue, but thanks to passionate and successful recruiting and the addition of three new players, the team avoided detrimental consequences.”Each year the team gets progressively better. Last year we lost two key players, but we also gained two [first-years], Seana Minuth and Allie Wallin, and a junior transfer, Erin Bell. Those two additions to the team have really created a deep singles line-up, which is really important,” said Allick. A point of emphasis this year has been treating every practice like an important game and playing as such.”We show up every day and commit our focus 100 percent to practice. Other new things we have added to our agenda this year [are] team yoga and meeting with a team nutritionist once a week,” said Allick.
This team is also one of the closest teams, on and off the court, that senior Hannah Palkowitz has ever been a part of.”This season has been my favorite of all four years, and I think I’ve seen the biggest amount of growth on the team. This team is super passionate and inspires me every day,” said Palkowitz.Part of that growth came from the two trips the team got to take this year, one to Hawaii over winter break and one to California for spring break.

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Photo by Alecia Lindsay

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs. We started Hawaii on a great note, for winter break, and then we’ve just been flying through conference. We had a tough loss over spring break, but that just fired us up more for the rest of the season,” said Palkowitz.

Bell can see the improved team mentality even in her first year at Whitman.

“We’re a really close team. We have a lot of fun together, and we hang out a lot together outside of tennis,” said Bell.

The intensity with which the team plays and practices combined with the enjoyment outside of tennis makes for an all-around ideal atmosphere for an athlete.

“We get to work really hard together, play really hard together and just enjoy each others’ company every day. We laugh a lot,” said Bell.

After their dominant performance this last weekend, beating Linfield College 5-0 to take the conference championship, all that is left is the postseason, and each player has their sights set on preparing as well as they can.

“This week is a lot about resting our bodies and minds. It’s a long season and our team is hurting as any team is. And then it’s about just getting fired up. Our team is capable of competing with these top teams, but we need everyone at their best,” said Palkowitz.

Beyond that, Allick spoke to the kind of tennis that every player needs to be playing at regionals.

“We each know how to adjust our games to different players based on that player’s weakness. Our biggest weapon is the unity of our team and our family dynamic. Other teams sense our closeness and our confidence and that can be intimidating,” said Allick.

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