Most successful women’s tennis season in eight years concludes

Danny Spatchek, Editor-in-Chief

The top four players on Lakeland’s women’s tennis team competed in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament Oct. 9-10 at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wis.

Senior Nicole Shavlik and junior April Schmitz each advanced to the third round of the singles competition before bowing out 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-3, respectively.

Shavlik, who had a 7-4 record this year and has a 22-14 career record at Lakeland, called it “difficult” to lose in the third round.

“As it is any person’s dream to make it to the championship round, I feel that I was totally capable of doing just that. However, it was just not my day for tennis,” Shavlik said. “As disappointing as it was, I still had a great senior year getting to know the girls on the team and enjoyed having a new tennis coach as well. I feel Coach Carr will do great things for the tennis program and will build it to become very successful.”

Women’s Tennis Coach Casey Carr said he feels lucky to have coached a player as passionate as Shavlik.

“There was nobody that I could see at the whole tournament who wanted to win as badly as Nicole did,” he said.

Shavlik and Schmitz advanced to the second round of the doubles tournament before losing to the eventual champions from Concordia-Wisconsin, 8-3. They have been doubles partners for the last three years.

Schmitz said she and Shavlik “cannot be upset at all with how we played.”

“We had a blast playing together for the last time, and we played one of the best matches we have played all year,” she said.

Carr said the match was more competitive than the final score suggests.

“I told them when they were down 7-2, ‘I don’t care if this is the last game you play together or if six games from now is your last one. Go out having fun, go out being aggressive, and go out enjoying tennis,’” he said.

Lakeland’s other players in the competition, sophomores Brittany Jurek and Jenna Oberthaler, lost 6-4, 6-3 and 6-0, 6-1, respectively. The pair lost 8-4 in the doubles competition.

“Unfortunately, they got stuck with very tough first round draws,” said Carr. “With the new format of the conference tournament, which pairs all players against each other regardless of the flight they competed at during the year, it’s tough for three and four seeds to advance.”

Carr, in his first season at the helm of the team, said the team must play year-round if they hope to improve on this year’s 3-8 record, the most successful season the program has had in eight years.

He said he “could write a book” on how enjoyable it was to coach each one of his players.

“I’m very appreciative of the group I inherited my first year of coaching, and I wouldn’t trade this first season for anything. I’d rather have the season that we had with the team that we had rather than a couple more wins. I’d rather have this team.”

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