The Slippery Rock women’s tennis team began their Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play Tuesday with a 2-7 loss to Mercyhurst University.
The team traveled to the Pennbriar Athletic Club in Erie where the Lakers improved their record to 10-3, while the Rock watched their season record fall 7-8.
Mercyhurst was coming off of a six match winning streak, where they sealed the seventh win against Slippery Rock.
Jerome Simon, head coach of both men’s and women’s tennis at Mercyhurst University, also led the team to a win against SRU last year with a score of 5-4. The ladies also made their way to the PSAC Championships in their 2013 season. The Lakers are currently fifth on the Atlantic Region rankings, while Slippery Rock’s Matthew Meredith guides his team in sixth place.
The Rock played three doubles teams and six singles teams at Tuesday’s match.
Senior Nikolina Grbac was teamed with senior Sarah Joumond for the first doubles team and senior Lauren Coggins and freshman Stephanie Fortier made up the second team. Sophomore Courtney Gallagher and freshman Kylee Woodman made up the final doubles team. Gallagher and Woodman were the only doubles team for the Rock to win a set with a score of 8-3.
“The third doubles team played strong against Mercyhurst and really took care of business,” head coach Matt Meredith said.
The ladies were also pleased with their performance Tuesday night, compared to their last win against Millersville.
“We knew that we couldn’t take Mercyhurst lightly,” Gallagher said. “The Millersville match got us really pumped up for the rest of our PSAC matches for the remainder of the season.”
All six girls played in the singles matches as well. Nikolina Grbac was the only scorer in the singles match with scores of 6-3 and 6-0.
“Nikolina has been playing good tennis this season,” Meredith said. “She has been very competitive in every match.”
The team plans to be more productive in their upcoming PSAC matches.
“I’d really like to see more points scored in our doubles,” Meredith said. “I know that we are more than capable of doing this as well as stepping up our game.”
Gallagher agrees that the team must focus on their doubles next match.
“We just have to play our individual game,” Gallagher said. “Sometimes players tend to play the way their opponents play and then they end up beating themselves instead of beating their opponent. If we just keep working hard in doubles and playing our game in matches, we’ll be successful in our next two matches.”
According to the Atlantic Region rankings, Grbac has been ranked fourth overall in her singles matches this season in the entire region. In addition to this achievement, Grbac has also made her mark on the Atlantic Region doubles team ranking, where her and Joumond rank seventh.
Joining her teammates in their successes is Coggins, who is completing her final season here at Slippery Rock this spring. Coggins has accumulated a career record of 105-58 over four seasons on the team. She is currently ninth on the All-Time Wins List of Slippery Rock University where she is six wins shy of matching the number one player Dunja Drmac, a 2012 Slippery Rock graduate.
With five spring break matches and one PSAC match behind them, the ladies look to improve their season record at their upcoming duals against both Clarion and IUP. The Green and White will face division rival Clarion on Sunday.