Women’s tennis gears up for a deep post-season run

With the regular season coming to a close, the team is focused on winning its 16th-straight ODAC championship and competing in NCAAs


Jimmie Mack Johnson III, Sports Writer

The women’s tennis team will look to use the confidence it gained during its spring break trip to propel them into post-season play.

The team is currently ranked number 15 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division Three rankings with 15 wins and 6 losses. The team is undefeated in the ODAC with its only losses coming against teams ranked in the top 12 of the ITA poll.

Lily Horsley, ‘20, credits the team’s success to the balanced strength of their starting lineup.

“I think our ladder has seen success at all spots, which is a big reason why our team is special,” Horsley said.

Head Coach Erin Ness said the team has been led in singles play by Michelle Fleenor, ‘18, and Valerie Marshall, ‘21. Fleenor is currently ranked fourth in the Atlantic region, with Marshall ranked seventh. The doubles team of Anna Kreynin, ‘20, and Claudia Kesala, ‘18, also played well as they recorded a big win against Pomona-Pitzer over spring break.

During spring break, the team travelled to California to play third-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and seventh-ranked Pomona-Pitzer.

While the team lost both matches, Horsley said the trip was great because the team got to play against some great competition.

“I think we competed especially well against Pomona since the match [as a whole] came down to the two last matches,” she said. “I think our performance there showed how well our team can play against some of the best players in the nation.

In addition to playing against two top-ten teams, the team had lots of bonding time without the additional stress of missing classes or having homework assignments. Fleenor said the team bonding was one of the highlights of the trip.

“The trip to (California) was such an incredible bonding experience for us,” Fleenor said. “We’re already such a close knit team, but being around each other while playing the sport we love really motivated us to play our best tennis.”

With the ODAC championship quickly approaching, Horsley said the team is excited to defend its conference title and make a run in the NCAA tournament. The team’s goal is to make it to the Elite Eight round of the tournament.

Fleenor said the team will continue to rely on its strong team bond to propel them into post-season play.

“I have always felt so lucky to be on a team that I can call my best friends,” she said. “It really helps during matches having not just your teammates but also your friends cheering you on.”

Ness believes this team has a lot of potential and she is excited to see how far they can go.

“If we start out strong in doubles and get a lead, we have a very good chance at beating anybody we play,” she said.  We need to be aggressive from the first ball and bring a lot of energy and positivity.”

The team will host an ODAC tournament quarterfinal match on May 1, with the semi-finals and finals being held at Virginia Wesleyan University May 5 through 6.