Tennis caps historic season with 8-1 win

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The SVSU women’s tennis team finished the spring season undefeated, beating Hillsdale 8-1 on Sunday, April 2.

After going 6-0 in the spring, the team ended the season with a 15-5 record, the program’s best performance in over 16 years.

Senior Izabella Ismailova finished her colligate tennis career on top. In her singles match, she won the tiebreaker 14-12. She was joined by junior Danielle Slonac to win her doubles match 8-3.

Senior Ana Pico Garcia followed suit. She closed out her senior season with a win in singles competition winning 6-1, 6-2. She lost her doubles match with partner Shea Donahue, a junior, 8-6.

Prior to the match, Garcia said that the team has come a long way in the four years she has represented SVSU.

“This year’s success has been an evolution from the last four years,” Garcia said. “We have a group of players with really different characteristics, and the confidence and ambition have increased a lot. During the fall, we put a lot of effort toward working on conditioning, workouts and extra practices. Everybody has been on the same page, and some of us have even overcome injuries during the season.”

Even from the beginning of the season to the final match, head coach Jenn Boehm felt the team improved a lot.

“I would say overall team confidence has increased over the course of the year,” Boehm said. “After getting some huge wins towards the end of the fall, we really started believing we could win every match. We have freshmen in the lineup who continue to elevate their games, and we have really seen some great teamwork and growth from our doubles teams.”

Junior Abigail Shonk and her freshman partner Taylor McLaughlin won their doubles match 8-4.

Donahue, Slonac, McLaughlin and freshman Madeline Miller all won their singles competition as well.

Slonac came back after losing her first set to force a tiebreaker that she won 10-7. Donahue, McLaughlin and Miller won their matches 2-0.

The rivalry between SVSU and Hillsdale was sparked in the fall when the Cardinals defeated the Chargers 6-3 on the road.

Garcia noted that in addition to it being her final match, ending her career against Hillsdale is equally as special.

“The match was obviously special for us,” Garcia said. “We have had a really good spring season, and it was a good test to prove the level that we have achieved in the last few months. We can’t deny that there is a rivalry with Hillsdale, and we had the extra motivation because for some of us, it was our last match.”

Boehm added that the match brought an end to the improvement that Ismailova and Garcia brought to the program.

“This has truly been an incredible season, the best in over 16 years, and it’s hard to believe it’s coming to a close,” Boehm said. “Being the final match of the season means it was also the final match for our two seniors Ana Pico Garcia and Izabella Ismailova. They have meant so much to the success and improvement of our team. More than that, though, we are going to miss them so much as players, teammates and friends.”

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