St. Edward’s women’s tennis faced tough teams to prepare for postseason

Although the fall tennis season counts, it is seen as practice and team-building for the spring.

And when planning the schedule for the spring season, there’s a lot of factors to consider, such as national rankings, traveling challenges and shared courts between women’s and men’s collegiate tennis teams.

Leaving some of the best teams for last, St. Edward’s University Head Coach Kendall Brooks managed this uphill battle for a reason.

“We’ve definitely had our toughest part of the season these last couple of weeks,” Brooks said. “Especially coming in with a lot of wins, and then losing some of those matches might hurt our confidence, but I think these matches have prepared us for the level of tennis we’re needing to play at for the postseason.”

Finishing their regular season with a 14-7 overall record and 4-1 conference record, the No. 41 team earned the second-seed ranking at the Heartland Conference Tournament.

Most recently, the Hilltoppers hosted No. 12 St. Mary’s University at their final home match of the season on April 23. In Battle of the Saints fashion, the victor would finish undefeated in conference play and earn the regular season championship title.

Unfortunately for St. Edward’s, they went 0-9. Facing two Rattlers singles players and two sets of double partners that are nationally-ranked, this young St. Edward’s team just couldn’t hold their own.

“It was a tough day at the office. St. Mary’s is a great team. They’ve got a lot of senior leadership, and a really deep team,” Brooks said. “We knew it was going to be tough coming out, but I was pleased with our effort. We started well in doubles, but had some opportunities we didn’t capitalize on. They kept fighting, and that’s all you can ask for.”

This regular-season match at the Strohmeyer Varsity Courts was also the last for lone senior Ivana Zecevic. As this team of eight is composed of five freshmen, Zecevic serves as a role model. Her doubles partner freshman Laura Galvan says she is like the mother hen, calling her “Mama Ivana.”

Prior to this match, the team lost 4-5 to No. 20 Midwestern State University on March 15, and 0-9 to No. 17 Cameron University on April 14.

However, saving the toughest teams for last has hopefully prepared the team for the Heartland Conference Tournament this weekend in Arlington. St. Edward’s is set to face Newman University, and the last time these teams faced on April 9, St. Edward’s was victorious with a 6-3 finish.

Brooks said, “We’re ready heading into the conference tournament.”