By Richard Wehman

Special to the Denisonian

After a night headlined by the electrifying Aaron Carter, one would think there would be nothing but good vibes around Granville for the duration of the weekend. However, that just did not seem to be case for the Denison women’s tennis team.

On Sunday, the 25th ranked Big Red hosted the 14th ranked Tigers of DePauw University. Not only was this showdown crucial because of the national rankings, but it also had significant conference and regional implications. Heading into the match, Denison was fifth in the region and DePauw was second.

The Tigers came into Granville roaring, defeating the Big Red 6-3. A key to DePauw’s success was winning all three points in doubles play, 8-3,8-1 and 8-3 respectively.

Emily Holloway  ’17 feels it is essential to address the Big Red’s shortcomings if they intend to beat highly ranked teams: “DePauw has always had strong doubles teams and we’re going to have to work hard in the coming weeks to prepare for conference. We have to start off aggressive at the beginning of the match and look to pick off more volleys instead of playing defense”.

Despite losing an important conference match against an excellent opponent, there were several outstanding performances by some of the Big Red’s elite. Taylor Hawkins ’16 headlined the action by earning a huge upset win at No. 1 over Clare Marshall 6-3, 6-4. Hawkins entered the match ranked 11th in the region and Marshall was fourth.

Her fiery mentality was a key factor in clinching the upset. “I think the biggest thing for me today was just going into the match with a positive attitude and expecting to fight for every point,” Hawkins said. “After doubles we went down 0-3 and I knew I had to play my best tennis if we wanted to give DePauw a fight. Having the other girls on the team cheering for me off the court really helped and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Meg Chiumento ’16 also logged a point for the Big Red with her No.3 singles victory over Julie Wittwer, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

It is never ideal to lose a matchup against a conference foe, but the Denison women are optimistic about closing out their divisional conference play on the right note and hopefully gaining some momentum into the postseason.

“Our team is very capable of competing at an intense level against highly ranked opponents,” said Courtney Brown ’18, a regionally ranked player.

“I think this will boost our confidence as we approach conference and hopefully have another chance to prove ourselves against DePauw. Our team is playing at its best level of the season currently which gives us high goals for this final stretch.”

Denison falls to 12-6 overall and 1-1 in the NCAC West.  They will close out divisional conference play on Tuesday when they travel to Wittenberg for a 4:30 p.m. match with the Tigers.