The Slippery Rock University women’s tennis team closed out their 2016-2017 season with home wins against Clarion University, Thursday, and California University, Friday, 9-0 and 5-4, respectively.
The latter win was the last for senior doubles pair Stephanie Fortier and Kylee Woodman as well as senior Tiffany Kollah; it also kickstarted Easter weekend.
The wins put The Rock at a season record of 9-11 overall while 2-4 in conference play, the two conference wins coming in the last two games. The season was essentially lost due to injuries, but the late season surge has head coach Matt Meredith optimistic for next season.
“That was awesome today,” Meredith said. “My seniors came through big today. We needed to get two doubles somewhere in there, and for my senior duo at two to come thru in a big match, and win, that was awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better senior gift from them.”
The win Meredith was talking about was the latter against CalU. Interestingly enough, the win snapped a 14-match losing streak against CalU, dating back to the 2004-2005 season.
Competition against CalU started with doubles matches.
Kollah and sophomore Allie Welch, third doubles, made quick work of their opponents, downing their opposition 8-0. Contrarily, freshman Lacey Cohen and sophomore Amanda Bruscemi, first doubles, then went on lose 8-3, making the game score 1-1.
However, the pair of Fortier and Woodman clapped right back, pushing it to their limits with a 8-6 win.
The win put the game score at 2-1 in favor of The Rock, and essentially won the match as the final score was 5-4.
“We needed to have momentum,” Meredith said. “If we don’t win that, this was a 5-4 match, we needed to get two of those.”
In singles competition, Woodman, sixth singles, followed up her doubles win with a dominating singles victory 6-0 and 6-1, respectively, only giving up one point in her last collegiate effort. Fortier, fifth singles, followed her doubles partner with a win as well, coincidentally winning 6-0 and 6-1, respectively, in her last collegiate game.
“It felt amazing, couldn’t ask for anything better,” Fortier said.
Bruscemi, third singles, broke up the momentum, losing 6-1 twice.
The game score now stood at 4-2 with three games to go.
Cohen, first singles, made the win official for the Rock, taking down her opponent 7-5 and 6-0, respectively.
“I’ve been waiting for that all year,” Meredith said.
The freshman tag has been removed from Cohen, even if the season wasn’t over, Meredith suggested.
To round things out, Welch, fourth singles, went down losing 6-3 twice to her opponent. Kollah, second singles, who won in doubles competition earlier, wasn’t able to secure a win in her final collegiate singles game, closing out the match losing 6-2 and 6-4, respectively.
Circling back to The Rock’s former win against Clarion, the win started the two-game win streak the team closed the season on.
Competition for the game began with doubles as well. Bruscemi and Cohen, first doubles, got the Rock off to fast start, winning due to the retirement by their opponents. Welch teamed up with freshman Zoe McCafferty, third doubles, to win 8-4. Woodman and Fortier followed suit, winning 8-2 to close out doubles competition.
“I’ll miss most just having the support of people around me like an entire team while I’m playing,” Fortier said.
The Rock moved into singles competition up 3-0. Fortier did not partake, making way for McCafferty to get game experience.
“I would tell them (the team) to keep their same drive that they had this whole season,” Fortier said. “We tried real hard even though we didn’t have all of our players. They put their best foot forward every time.”
Cohen, first singles, kicked off singles competition with another win via retirement by her opponent. Bruscemi, third singles, downed her opponent, giving up one point, 6-1 and 6-0, respectively, and clinching the win for The Rock.
Woodman, fifth singles, and McCafferty, sixth singles, both down their respective opponents 6-0 twice.
To round things out, Welch, fourth singles, defeated her opponent 6-0 and 6-2, respectively while Kollah, second singles, downed her opponent 6-3 twice, earning a win in her second to last singles collegiate match.