Generals shut down Roanoke

Women’s tennis team rounds out Generals’ trifecta

Pete Rathmell

The Washington and Lee Women’s tennis team continued its streak of dominance by winning its 13th straight ODAC championship last weekend at Virginia Wesleyan and topping rival Roanoke College 5-0 in the process.

The Lady Generals, who are currently ranked number four nationally, have won 25 ODAC tournament titles in the 32 years that the ODAC has awarded a women’s championship title.

From the onset of the match, there was little doubt as to which team was stronger. The Generals won the first three games 8-2, 8-0, and 8-2, respectively.

The Generals’ dominance was n’t confined to the championship match. Throughout the tournament, the Lady Generals did not drop a single game, winning all three rounds 5 to 0.

And they’re not done just yet. Over the weekend, the Lady Generals said they hoped to continue the winning streak as they began the NCAA tournament in Fredericksburg, Va.

The team continued its winning streak Saturday, taking out North Carolina Wesleyan College, 5-0.

The women faced MIT in the third round of the NCAA tournament Sunday but results of the match were unavailable prior to the Phi’s publication.

“We have been practicing really hard and focusing on the little things,” Patricia Kirkland, ‘15, said. “At this point, we have put in all of the hard work, so it is just a matter of execution.”

Despite success within the ODAC, the Lady Generals haven’t had as much luck on the national stage, winning their only championship in 2007.

“As a senior, each year before this one, we have always travelled and then lost to Emory. This year is really exciting because we are travelling to Mary Washington where we are the number one seed,” said Allison Hupalo, ‘15. “We have worked really hard to be in a position for this to happen and I think this is a great opportunity for us to advance to the quarterfinals.”

Nobody on the current team—players and coaches alike—was around for the 2007 championship run. But behind the play of Sonja Meighan, ‘15, the Generals have no shortage of expectations.

Meighan was recently honored with her fourth consecutive ODAC player of the year award. She is the first Washington and Lee athlete, for any sport, to ever win a player of the year award in all four years of eligibility.

Meighan was also joined by seven of her teammates on the All-ODAC team: Hupalo, Kirkland, Meghan Buell, ‘15; Mary Elizabeth Shutley, ‘16; Michelle Fleenor, ‘18; Kelsey Vella, ‘15, and Brooke Donnelly, ‘17.

Despite losing Meighan, Buell, Hupalo, Vella and Kirkland, the future is still bright for the Generals as they will push to extend the Washington and Lee dynasty to a 14th straight ODAC title next year.

“The whole team has really stepped up this year, from freshmen to seniors, as shown from our increase in ranking from #20 in the country to #4 during our season,” Buell said. “The freshmen have done a great job of fitting into the hard working culture of the team.”

The Lady Generals will return an abundance of young talent even beyond the All-ODAC award recipients. With the experience from ODACs and NCAAs, first-years such as Emily Kochard, Abby Zidell, and Claudia Kesala will all be primed to step up into bigger roles next season.