Women’s tennis cracks the top 10

The women’s tennis team has won five of its 11 matches in sweeping fashion and is a perfect 4-0 in conference play


Brooke Donnelly, ‘17, was an All-American last season and hopes to repeat that honor this year. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Alden Ewing

A dominant start to the season has propelled the women’s tennis team to a top-ten ranking in the nation, according to ncaa.com

After half the team graduated last year, there were questions as to how the team would respond, but the five freshmen players have been critical to the team’s success.

“They are all so important to our team and have really stepped up to the plate,” said captain Mary Elizabeth Shutley, ‘16.

The huge success has been unexpected. With so much turnaround from last year, the team thought that this year could be a rebuilding year.

“My expectations for this year have been greatly exceeded, said Shutley. “We have done so well and despite being such a young team we have won huge matches and competed well against top teams in the country.”

The team has been terrific in March, winning four of the five matches they have played. First they beat Lynchburg 9-0, then beat Texas-Dallas 9-0, then Skidmore 8-1, but suffered a loss to Williams 6-3 before rebounding to shut out conference rival Bridgewater 9-0.

“Our success can be credited to our entire team and the support that we have for each other,” Shutley said. “We all cheer for each other and work hard every practice to help each other get better every day.”

Last year’s team ended the season ranked in the top ten nationwide and made it to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. With their current performance this team looks primed to go deeper.

Shutley attributes much of this success to coaches Erin Ness and Paige Madara, who push the team not just on the court, but also in the classroom and in their personal lives.

From top to bottom, the team prides itself on its hustle and effort.

“During every match, each player is always fighting hard every point and we have a lot of determination which has helped us win big matches so far,” says Shutley.

The team will look to build on the strong start when they host Mary Washington on April 2.