Cardinals tennis team tops competition in Florida trip, returns home with confidence

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After narrowly missing a fifth-place finish in the GLIAC tournament to close out the fall season, the Saginaw Valley tennis team was eager to come back from the winter break to finish the season strong.

The Cardinals won five of their six matches on their trip to Florida, including four 9-0 sweeps.

“We wanted to go undefeated on the trip,” sophomore Shea Donahue said. “Because we didn’t know the teams that well, we didn’t know what to expect from them. We just wanted to play well and win.”

The team began the trip with three sweeping victories against Coe College, Southwest Minnesota State and the University of Southern Indiana.

“We were very nervous heading into the first matches because we did not get as much practice as we all would have like,” Donahue explained. “However, we became much more confident as the matches went on, and I thought the team did a really good job.”

The Cardinals lost their lone match to a nationally ranked Florida Tech team, which swept the Cardinals 9-0.

“The score doesn’t really show how well we were actually able to play,” Donahue said. “I thought it was the best game that we played overall, both as a team and as individuals. The matches were close but just not enough.”

The team continued to hold its head high after the loss to bounce back for two more dominating victories to close out the spring road trip.

“Over the full season between the fall and spring, we have really grown dramatically as a team,” Donahue said. “Unlike some of the past years, we have grown so close, and that has made competing that much better. As you could see by this trip, the results really improve when the team is that close.”

The team returns to Michigan with just three games remaining for the year, and just one win shy of earning a record above .500 for the year and the first winning season since 2013.

“I think we are mentally prepared to have a strong finish,” Donahue added. “We became extremely confident after playing in some tough matches, so our goal is to win out the final three games.”

SVSU is set to return to the courts at Lawrence Tech on Wednesday, March 23.