Tennis continues season with split weekend

Freshman Elizabeth Stuart (pictured) and Junior Chelsea Dzenga win the game 6-2. Vanguard Photo Editor | Brooke Elward

The SVSU women’s tennis team was able to celebrate its first head-to-head win of the season after winning against Lawrence Tech (LWT) at home on Sept 24.

The victory did not come without challenges, according to coach Ryan Ruzziconi.

“We got off to a little bit of a slow start and I attribute that to nerves to some extent – it was the first on-campus home match since Fall of 2019 and being in front of our own fans for the first time this season, contributed to some early nerves and struggles,” Ruzziconi said.

Thankfully, the team was able to overcome its game-day jitters in the latter matches.

“Once that was gone, you could see some of our players like junior Chelsea Dzenga and sophomore Emma Charlton get comfortable and really put their opponent away for nice wins,” Ruzziconi said.

Dzenga and Charlton both managed to defeat the competition in their singles matches after three sets.

Several of the team’s freshmen players also shined in their singles matches despite initial nerves.

“It was … good to see freshmen Elizabeth Stuart and Andrea Teofilovic not overwhelmed by the moment and winning their matches easily,” Ruzziconi said.

While celebrating the 5-2 win over LWT, Ruzziconi said he knew it would be an even tougher contest when the team took on Cornerstone at home on Oct. 2.

“This will be a tough weekend of matches,” he said. “We have Cornerstone University coming here on Saturday morning, and they are clearly becoming one of the best tennis programs in Michigan.”

Cornerstone lived up to its reputation winning 4-3, with SVSU taking their first head-to-head loss this season.

SVSU certainly put up a fight, with Teofilovic, Stuart and freshman Alexis Anthes solidifying 3 singles matchup wins out of 6.

The pair of Dzenga and Stuart were once again able to win their doubles match with a score of 6-3.

This victory was not enough to stop Cornerstone from dominating the other 2 doubles matchups and ultimately clinching the win.

While the loss is disappointing, the SVSU women’s team must stay focused in preparation for competition at Hillsdale on Oct. 3.

“On Sunday afternoon we play at Hillsdale College, and they were the top team in the GMAC last spring,” Ruzziconi said.

Regardless of winning or losing, Ruzziconi says this weekend’s gameplay will serve as a learning experience for the entire team.

“I am looking forward to this weekend, as it will be a good gauge of where we are as a team and what [we] need to work on for the spring Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) season,” he said.

After Hillsdale, the team will have one more weekend of head-to-head competition at home.

The Cards will be taking on Walsh on Oct. 8 and Findlay on Oct 9. before concluding its fall season.

After the fall season ends next weekend, the Cardinals will continue to practice leading up to the spring season.

The tennis team’s spring season will resume in Feb. and will last through the month of Apr.

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