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UW-River Falls women’s tennis improves immensely this season

October 2, 2014

The UW-River Falls women’s tennis team’s season is less than half over and they have already managed to triple their wins from a year ago.

After a bumpy start to the season, the Falcons (3-3) have been playing like a well-oiled machine, brining their record back to .500 after winning the last three matches.

Last season the Falcons were only able to manage one win. Many people would look back and consider last season a failure, but second-year Head Coach Michele Bailey considers last year to be a building season. And as Bailey predicted, the Falcons are on pace to have a shot at its first winning season since 2009.

Last year’s struggles can be contributed to a number of things. One thing in particular that stands out for Bailey is the difficulty of last years schedule. She spent time this offseason making sure that would not be the case this season.

“As a second-year coach I was able to clean up our schedule a little bit and plan a little more strategically,” Bailey said. “That’s helped a lot so we don’t get burnt out playing all of our hard matches at once.”

Continuity is another factor that Bailey contributes to this year’s success.

“We are really running with the experience we have from last years team,” she said. “We only have a couple new players and a lot of players worked really hard in the offseason.”

In order for a team to be successful it is imperative that they have leaders on the team, and according to Bailey the Falcons are all set. She says that senior Hannah Kilmek, junior Kelsey Hochberger and sophomore Anna Ebensperger have all stepped into leadership roles for the team.

“It’s awesome because we have a senior, a junior and a sophomore that are leaders,” Bailey said.

The Falcons have a WIAC match on Friday, Oct. 3, and the players are eager to get out and play.

“We have Stout on Friday, which we’re super excited for. Last year we defeated them, so we have high expectations,” Ebensperger said.

Ebensperger went on to encourage fans to come watch to the match.

“We are really excited to show our improvement,” she said.

The WIAC is always a difficult conference and this year looks to be no different, with UW-Whitewater, UW-La Crosse and UWEau Claire expected to be battling for first place. So the Falcons have came up with some more realistic goals.

“We are hoping to land more in the middle of conference this year,” said Bailey. With matches coming up against some of the best teams in the conference Bailey went on to say: “We are hoping to be competitive with the top teams.”

Tennis also features a spring season that takes place in April. This gives players extra motivation to stay in shape and it keeps them excited about tennis during the offseason. Four matches will take place in the spring. The Falcons have six more matches scheduled until the WIAC tournament that takes place at the end of October.