Women’s Tennis falls to #22 Georgetown

De Witt sisters capture top two singles courts, but it’s not enough as #22 Tigers cruise to 5-2 victory

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Brandon Miniard

Freshman Audrey De Witt prepares to receive a service from Georgetown’s Maci Ferguson during the Grenadiers’ home match against the Tigers on Feb. 27. De Witt fell behind in #1 singles before rallying back to win 3-6, 6-3, 10-5.

Brandon Miniard, Sports Editor

The IU Southeast Women’s Tennis team looked to rebound after losing their season opener against Campbellsville University. The Tigers, who are currently receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25, dominated the match in part due to the Grenadiers not having players eligible to play at #3 doubles and #6 singles, leading to a 6-1 victory.

The early portion of the schedule did not get any easier for the Grenadiers on Saturday, Feb. 27, when they hosted another nationally-ranked squad in Georgetown College. These Tigers, currently ranked #22 in the NAIA Top 25, were able to overcome dropping the top two singles courts in order to bring home a fairly comfortable 5-2 victory over the Grenadiers.

“I thought [we] did a good job, but Georgetown’s a good team,” Head Coach Joe Epkey said. “They’re a good team that’s ranked #22 in the country, so we can handle losing two to five. The energy and the positivity we showed is the stuff that matters to me.”

Beginning with doubles action, the Tigers took an early advantage when their #3 duo of Emma Hill and Noel Bielski defeated Kate Heuchan and Anna Littlefield 6-2. The Grenadiers responded at #2 doubles when Katie Weimer and Emma Ellis squeaked by Bailey Thompson and Samantha Spady 6-4.

The doubles point was now in the hands of the top court, as Georgetown’s Maci Ferguson and Katie Swanson went back-and-forth with the Grenadiers’ Audrey and Adalyn De Witt. In the end, the freshman twins could not hold out, falling to Ferguson and Swanson 6-4, giving the Tigers the first team point of the match.

The De Witt sisters attempted to redeem their failure at doubles with their efforts in singles action. Adalyn De Witt breezed by Spady at #2 singles 6-1, 6-1, yet matters were not so easy for her twin sister.

At #1 singles, Audrey De Witt dropped the first set to Ferguson by a score of 6-3 but battled back to win the second set by the same score, bringing the match to a third-set tiebreaker. De Witt ultimately prevailed, breezing through the deciding set 10-5 to win the top court. De Witt said that for the second set, she simply had to keep a positive mindset while also playing smart despite the disadvantage.

“I certainly was having trouble finding a good rhythm in the first set,” she said. “As difficult as it was, my mindset continued to be positive and I was persistent in trying to battle back one point at a time. With positivity, persistence, and smart play, I found a good rhythm and I was able to come out on top.”

The top two singles courts were all that the Grenadiers could take, as the Tigers swept the final four courts, beginning with Swanson defeating Littlefield 6-2, 6-3 at #3 singles, followed by Hill breezing past Ellis at #4 singles 6-0, 6-0. Bielski at a tough time against Weimer at first, but managed as she took #5 singles 6-4, 6-2.

The match concluded with #6 singles as Mariah Medina defeated Sarah Vanisenberg by a score of 6-4, 6-1, more than enough for the Tigers to take the match. Despite the loss, Epkey noted that his squad was competitive at almost every court, as well as being far more energetic than they were in their season opener.

“We want to win every match, but we can handle losing if the ladies are doing things the coaches are asking them to do,” Epkey said. “They did a great job of doing that during this match.”

The Grenadiers return to action on Saturday, March 6, when they host the University of Pikeville. The match is currently scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.