Women’s tennis earns 8-1 victory against Rockford

Danny Spatchek, Sports Editor

The Lakeland women’s tennis team defeated a shorthanded Rockford team 8-1 for their first win of the season on Sept. 25 at the Howards Grove High School tennis courts.

The Muskies won five of six competitive matches and scored their remaining three wins by default against a four-woman Rockford squad.

Freshman Catie Campion won her first match of the season at No. 4 singles 6-3, 6-0, while junior Nicole Shavlik and sophomore April Schmitz each won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively.

Lakeland women’s tennis coach Leigh Cherveny applauded the efforts of Campion and Shavlik and commented on Schmitz’s win.

“April lost to the same player the year before in the conference tournament but she really beat up on her this time. After her win [on Sept. 22] against Alverno in three sets, she’s become very confident mentally and seems to know she can compete. It’s a great change to see,” Cherveny said.

Freshman Jenna Oberthaler pushed Rockford’s Aki Matsui to the limit at No. 3 singles before losing the decisive tiebreak 10-7 in what Cherveny called “the best match of the day.”

“Jenna played her best match of the year. After she lost the first set 7-5, we made an adjustment to her forehand. We moved her elbow farther away from her body which let her hit balls deeper and with more pace. It was the longest match of the day, the closest, and the most exciting, and hopefully the adjustment to her forehand will pay dividends in the future,” Cherveny said.

Shavlik and Schmitz combined for an 8-2 victory at No. 1 doubles and Oberthaler and Campion defeated Rockford’s No. 2 pair 8-2 for their first win of the season.

“April and Nicole played nice, aggressive tennis and didn’t back off with a lead,” Cherveny said. “Jenna and Catie did a nice job matching up.”

Sophomore Brittany Myszka and freshman Meribeth Mazzi won via forfeit at No. 3 doubles and at singles flights five and six, respectively.

Shavlik and Schmitz were responsible for all three Muskie victories in a 6-3 loss to Alverno Sept. 22 at Cahill Park in Whitefish Bay.

Cherveny talked about the potential of his junior No. 1, who made easy work of her Inferno opponent, 6-2, 6-1.

“Nicole has a lot of slice on her ground strokes and if her returns don’t go deep, her opponent’s at the net putting balls away. She’s probably the most athletic girl on our team and will continue to improve as she hits with topspin,” Cherveny said.

Cherveny commented on Schmitz’s comeback win in three sets.

“April played a counterpuncher and after she lost the first set I told her, ‘What you have to do against counterpunchers is wait for short balls and play the angles’. She did that and won the second set. It was real good to see April stay in the match mentally.”

Shavlik and Schmitz won 8-1 at No. 1 doubles for Lakeland’s other point. Cherveny added that No. 5 Mazzi played her best match of the year in a 6-3, 6-1 loss.

The Muskies played MSOE in Milwaukee Sept. 28, their last match before the conference tournament. Cherveny said this year’s tournament will likely feature a new format in which each team can enter two players in a group, the No. 1 and 2 players likely being entered into group A, the 3 and 4 in B, and 5 and 6 in C.

Cherveny said Shavlik and Schmitz entered in the most competitive group, where they could possibly play each other.

“They can play with anyone in the conference, and should, so they can see where they need to go,” Cherveny said. “With the strides they’ve taken this year, they can be the two of the best players in conference in my mind.”

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