Compound win highlights skill of tennis team

Katie Armes
The women’s tennis team won against Willamette University, 8-1, George Fox University, 9-0, and Pacific University, 9-0, last weekend.
“Pacific is a greatly improved team from last season; to get the 9-0 win really shows our focus and attention,” head coach Amy Dames Smith said.
The team played during harsh weather conditions during its matches against George Fox and Pacific.
“It was so cold that you couldn’t bend your fingers all the way around your racket,” junior Sallie Katter said. “It’s what happens when you play an outdoor sport in Oregon.”
Smith and Katter both agree that the team has great chemistry this season. Katter also emphasized that the singles team is “really deep” with talent, unlike many teams that only have two or three key players.
“All of our doubles teams are pretty comparable, which is good,” Katter said.
One challenge the team has encountered so far this season is illness. This weekend, many team members played through their sicknesses and won matches.
“We’re just fighters, and that’s what has pulled us above the rest,” she said. “No matter how devastating the score looks, we don’t concede.”
The team works on the mental aspect of tennis constantly, Smith said. She said it encourages the women to learn control, such as maintaining a positive attitude, taking time in between sets and taking a match one point at a time.
“Every single time the ball crosses the net, it’s all on you,” Katter said. “It’s a pretty mentally strenuous game.”
The ’Cats also have to balance playing singles and doubles matches and staying in the proper mindset for each match.
“[For doubles] during points you have to focus, but between points you have to maintain that vibe between you and your partner,” Katter said.
While the mental stress may be intense for some players, it is balanced against the presence of the team.
“You have the support of your teammates,” Katter said. “It makes a big difference.”
The team will focus on its positive morale during matches against Whitman College, one of their largest rivals, March 6.
“It’s going to be a test for us and a challenge,” Smith said. “If we’re able to stick to our goals of keeping focused, playing smart and playing hard, we’re going to get the outcome we want.”
Smith said she is pleased with the team’s overall performance so far in the season.
“I think that we are progressing and improving as we need to be going into conferences in April,” Smith said.

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