Women's tennis continues making history on the courts
Bulls continues strong season with hopes of making program history
The women’s tennis team is running through the Mid-American Conference. The Bulls, who have been undefeated since February, won their past ten matches and have a perfect 6-0 record in the MAC.
Head coach Kristen Maines said their success isn’t surprising.
“This team is playing on such a high level right now,” Maines said. “This is all their hard work paying off. I stress in every practice to just try and get one percent better and work on the small things. Now we are just seeing the culmination of all that work, and they are still getting better.”
The Bulls had strong play from the whole team, with nine of their wins coming from matches where they conceded one game or less. The team is only one win away from tying its 14 wins from last year’s MAC championship season.
Maines said what keeps the team in check is humility and gratitude. She said she always stresses those attributes as it creates a team-first environment, something players have bought into.
“We are a family here,” said junior Mercedes Losada Rubio. “Everybody holds everyone responsible, and that keeps everyone in check.”
Rubio has not played much this season, but coaches and players stressed that every player helped produce their strong season.
“This year, we have all come closer and I feel everyone has stepped up in leadership making things easier for me,” said team captain, senior Tanja Stojanovska. “We know how to deal with our conflicts and not letting those problems affect us on the court or in the classroom.”
Maines said the team usually handles issues before they get too big. If a player is in a rut, the team addresses it immediately and moves forward. Both players and Maines credited the team’s maturity to a roster of mostly upperclassmen. There are no freshmen on the team.
Stojanovska said activities like weekend dinners and watching movies have only made them closer as a team.
Stojanovska said the team’s goal is to win the MAC regular season along with the championship, which has never been done before in program history.
The team holds first place in the conference, with only two matches left this season. If the Bulls win both, they will clinch the MAC regular season title.
“We want to make our time here matter and really do things for the team that have not been possible before,” Rubio said.
Maines said it’s a step-by-step process for the team when it comes to goals. First, their goal is to win the MAC season title, then repeat the MAC championship win and then the “ultimate goal” of a possible NCAA Tournament win.
“With the talent on this team, we have a real chance to do these things that a few years ago seemed impossible,” Maines said. “It is a credit to all these girls that we have made it this far, and they are still trying to get better. They are focused in on these last games and the goals they set for themselves this season.”
The Bulls play the Akron Zips (14-10, 3-3 MAC) on the road Saturday at 1 p.m.