The sky is the limit for Linfield women’s tennis in 2017, thanks to a talented combination of experience and untapped potential.
Pegged as the deepest team co-head coach Lisa Macy-Baker has enjoyed in her four years leading the program, the Wildcats have sights set on a conference championship and continued regional and national acclaim.
“Winning the conference championship is a reasonable and attainable goal for us,” Macy-Baker said. “We also are working to create a true team environment, and a culture where ‘my win is your win.’ That type of culture fosters a great work ethic and healthy competition.”
At the heart of the veteran core are all-Americans Ella Riddle and Elsa Harris, who enter the spring season with increased confidence after a sixth-place doubles finish at the ITA national tournament. At the top of the ladder in both singles and doubles, the duo’s individual – and combined – successes factor heavily in Linfield’s team outcome.
Basia Kopecka and Marisa Doveri, who boast more than 70 combined victories over their two-year careers, are also expected to hold down key lineup spots for the Wildcats. Helping to provide leadership, set a competitive tone during practice and maintain high expectations are fellow upperclassmen Courtney Mostul and Sierra Lemon.
With a wealth of experience at the high school and elite junior levels, all six freshmen should regularly factor into the lineup.
“With [collegiate] inexperience always comes the unknown, but our freshmen are coming along and developing faster than we expected,” Macy-Baker said. “We’re asking our freshmen to step into some big spots, and they are handling it well.”
The team’s depth and flexible lineup are undeniable assets for Linfield, especially as the team plays multiple matches with short recovery times. The Wildcats’ ability to stay healthy and fresh down the stretch will determine the length of their postseason run.
A key stretch for Linfield in its quest for a regular-season title comes early in the conference season, when the ‘Cats play defending champion Lewis & Clark in back-to-back matches before traveling to perennial power Whitman and hosting an up-and-coming George Fox squad.
Later in March, Linfield treks to the state of Texas for four contests, including two nationally ranked programs. In all, March is busy month for the Wildcats, who play nine times alone over 3½ weeks.