By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
The women’s tennis team achieved a team goal by defeating a fellow Division I team on Monday then followed it up with victories in two of their final three matches. The Mavs pushed their winning streak to three with an 8-1 win over Lindenwood on Tuesday then made it four in a row with a 6-3 win against Missouri-St. Louis on Wednesday.
In their final match of the season Thursday, UNO fell 5-2 to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Senior Heather Hottman was the only Mav to go undefeated in three days, winning all of her singles matches.
“Heather is one of those players where she’s determined, she’s gonna put her mind to it, she’s gonna do it, she’s gonna find a way how,” Saniuk said. “She’s really stepped up her game as we went outside, which is something the team needed. I’m not surprised or shocked at all. It’s just her game, her job and doing what she loves to do.”
Hottman and junior Lindsay Weideman came close to also being undefeated in doubles, winning on Tuesday and Wednesday then losing on Thursday. Senior Kelsie Olson and freshman Jacqueline Baude put up similar results, winning in their first two matches then dropping the third.
“We played really well doubles wise,” Head Coach Mike Saniuk said. “Overall on the women’s side it was a very successful week. To win your last four out of five matches that’s a pretty great way to end the season.”
The doubles teams of Hottman, Weideman and Olson, Baude set the tone for UNO’s 8-1 win on Tuesday, sweeping their doubles matches by identical scores of 8-0. The top pairing of freshmen Alex Tran and Rachel Pierson dropped the Mavs’ only match of the day, 9-7.
UNO’s singles teams only lost 14 games in 12 sets. The Mavs won five of those sets 6-1 and swept three 6-0.
Tran won the top spot 6-2, 6-0, Olson squeaked out her opening set 7-5 then dominated the second 6-1 and Weideman won the third spot 6-1, 6-1. Both Baude and Pierson won their matches 6-1, 6-1 and Hottman was victorious in the sixth spot 6-0, 6-0.
Wednesday UNO’s domination wasn’t as evident but the Mavs still won in convincing fashion, taking two of three doubles matches and four of six singles. Again Tran and Pierson fell, this time by a score of 8-4.
Olson and Baude swept their second straight match 8-0, and Hottman and Weideman were victorious 8-4. Tran and Olson lost the one and two spot in singles but Weideman, Baude, Pierson and Hottman all won their matches.
“It shows that all the work that our seniors have put in, not only the three previous years but to end this season to end that way, paid off,” Saniuk said about his team’s strong finish to the season. “Not pulling up shop but being ready for the rest of life…for them to continue to fight hard and push hard says a lot about their character and determination.”
After going 0-2 in doubles the previous two days, Tran and Pierson recovered Thursday and had UNO’s only doubles win of the day. Tran and Pierson won 8-5 but Olson and Baude fell 8-3, and Hottman and Weideman went down 8-1.
Tran and Hottman provided the Mavs’ only singles wins in the 5-2 season-ending loss. Tran swept the top spot 6-0, 6-0 and Hottman won the six spot 8-4.
Olson was defeated 6-2, 6-1, Weideman forced three sets but fell 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3), Baude went down 6-0, 6-3 and Pierson lost 6-3, 6-4. Despite the loss, UNO won five of its final eight matches and finished the first season of D-I competition 7-13.