A long off-season finally came to an end as The Rock women’s tennis team sent six members of the squad to compete individually at the Oberlin Invitational in Oberlin, Ohio over the weekend.
Facing off against a collection of Division II and III schools including Case Western University, Ohio Northern University, West Liberty University, Oberlin College and Indiana University (Pa.), the Green and White were able to shake off some rust and put together some stellar opening weekend performances. Collectively, The Rock finished the weekend 10-6 (.625) in singles competition while finishing 5-3 (.625) in doubles play.
Sophomore Olivia Warner stole the show with a perfect showing in both singles and doubles play. Head Coach Matt Meredith expected Warner to take a big step forward this season, citing the sophomore’s learning experience last season after going 9-16 in singles play and 13-13 in doubles play; Warner played a majority of her time in the three/four slot for The Rock last season. Although the early season non-conference results need to be taken with a grain of salt, Warner’s play over the weekend encouragingly points toward a potential breakout season.
Starting off Friday with a contested match against Carleyah McLean (West Liberty), Warner pulled out a gritty 7-5, 6-3 victory. Warner rolled through a dominating performance on match-day two by means of a 4-2, 4-1 victory over Eliza Kirov (University of Findlay). Warner ended the weekend in near flawless fashion following a 4-0, 4-1 rout over Maria Magraner (Indiana University (Pa.)).
Paired with junior Viola Lugmayr, Warner picked up two doubles victories with 9-7 and 8-2 results over duos from Case Western University and Walsh University, respectively. Warner and senior Allie Welch closed out the Invitational on Sunday by picking up an 8-2 victory over a duo from the University of Findlay.
Freshman international star Lois Page quickly found out that the competition in the United States differs immensely from the play overseas. In the talented freshman’s first competitive collegiate match, Page lost a closely contested match to Jessica Liu (Case Western) 7-5, 6-2. Match-day two proved to be more of the same for Page in a heartbreaking 3-4, 4-3, 10-2 defeat to Katarina Razsum (Walsh University). Page used those experience to put together one of the best all-around matches in the Invitational; Page conquered Nidhi Jha (Case Western) 4-0, 4-0 for her first career Slippery Rock win.
Meredith felt before the season that the fall months of individual non-conference play were the perfect chance to ease Page into collegiate tennis in order to prepare her for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) matches in the spring. Page notching both a singles and doubles victory in her very first invitational will surely ease the young woman’s initial nerves and give her the confidence to compete with the PSAC’s best talent as a true freshman. A few more non-conference tests, including hosting Daemen College in a few weeks, will give Page ample opportunity to prove herself to her peers and opponents alike.
Following a successful opening to the season, The Rock will look to keep the momentum rolling at the ITA Atlantic Regional Championships in Erie, Pennsylvania over the weekend of September 15th through the 17th. Continuing to find their rhythm while gaining critical early season experience through hard-fought wins, Rock women’s tennis will mark a perfect fall semester.