After an impressive showing at the Oberlin Invitational, the Denison women’s tennis team was aiming to build off this success. Their chance to do so was at the ITA Central Regional tournament at DePauw University for a five-day completion, which started on Thursday, Sept. 19th. The tournament included 18-20 different colleges in the playing field with the likes of Chicago, Washington University, Case Western and Depauw.

By Julian Howell

Sophomore Eleni Coleman came off a solid performance in the previous tournament; making to day 2 of 3 in singles and doubles play. She was looking forward to the challenge of the tournament.

“I know the competition will be tough this weekend, so I’m really looking forward to playing my best and having fun with my team! My overall mindset is to stick to my game and stay focused during every point. I want to know when I leave DePauw that I played the best that I could. We will be up against some of our biggest competition this weekend: Chicago and DePauw will probably be our toughest matches.”

Head Coach, Peter Burling took a wait –and-see approach. He wanted to play some freshmen and evaluate the play of the doubles teams.

“We were a bit unsure to expect going into the tournament because of the obvious: we had three new freshmen and we had not seen them play too much yet. We also had all new doubles teams and that chemistry between partners takes time to develop.”

With a wide playing field in the ITA Central Regional and questions about doubles play, the women’s tennis team went into the tournament hoping for a strong performance and an increase in team morale.

In the tournament, Denison had strong performances from its top two players, All-American senior Kelsey Geppner and sophomore Taylor Hawkins.  Both players made it to the quarterfinals in a 128 player draw for singles as well as the quarterfinals for doubles.

Freshman Emily Holloway showed resiliency after losing in the first round of singles by going on to win four rounds in the consolation draw before losing in the finals.

Looking back on the tournament, Coach Burling acknowledged that the team had much work to do for the remaining fall season.

“We have much work to do and especially in doubles. We will be working almost exclusively on this part of the game for the remaining fall season,” said Coach Burling.

For the Denison women’s tennis team, the progression of partner chemistry in doubles will be an interesting storyline between now and their next tournament in February against Chicago.