Lady Lions look to build momentum

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Senior Fleur Holtkamp has returned to form in the singles category with victories against Nicholls State University and Stephen F. Austin State University. Nikisun Shrestha/The Lion's Roar

After beating Nicholls State University and register in their first conference victory, the Lady Lions tennis team rounded off last week with 4-3 win over Stephen F. Austin State University and 5-2 loss against Northwestern State University.

Head Coach Jason Hayes credited his team’s hard work for the victory over in state rivals Nicholls. He also hoped the team could build up momentum after earning the win.

“The girls have worked so hard,” said Hayes. “We needed this. Nicholls is a good team and very well coached. We needed that first win. Hopefully, we’ll get this rolling. We’ve got the talent, the heart and the fight. So, getting that first win is going to be important and hopefully, we can turn it into more.”

Senior Fleur Holtkamp shared her happiness about the win. Holtkamp earned wins in both singles and doubles category and was more confident going into the matches.

“We’re very excited,” said Holtkamp. “We worked really hard towards this. Against UNO, it didn’t come in our way, but today it did. I think everybody needed that confirmation that we keep working hard and try to get more wins. I was very close against McNeese too. I think today, it just came out a little bit better, and I was convinced I was going to win.”

Holtkamp described the preparation going into the match against Nicholls.

“They’ve been tough,” said Holtkamp. “We’ve played very long points and have had a lot of rallies, a lot of good footwork, good placement and smart decisions. That’s why today really showed that we practiced that.”

The team sorted out their problems with the doubles category in securing the doubles point against Nicholls. Hayes described how his team’s initiative to stick with their partners and dig deep going into the sets helped them.

“We’ve been close the other times and sometimes it may be just a point difference,” said Hayes. “I thought about switching them up but the girls wanted to stay with their partners. When they’re invested in their own tennis, then as a coach, you feel better about that. When they said, ’Coach, we wanna stay together, we’re gonna fight,’ I said, ‘Go for it.’”

Following the win, the team participated in two road games against Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin. Hayes knew the conference leaders, Northwestern State, was going to be a challenging opposition.

“Northwestern is a tough team,” said Hayes. “They’re good every year but we’re just gonna try to get as many wins and possible. It’s gonna be tough, they’re really good. It’s gonna be a tough weekend, but we got a great group. We’re just gonna play them one match at a time.”      

In the second road game of the week, the team had their backs against the wall after trailing 3-0 in the doubles category. Seniors Holtkamp, Ceci Mercier and Dalina Dahlmans along with freshman Katya Cornejo completed the Lady Lions come back with victories in their respective singles matches. Hayes was proud of the fight shown by the team and described how playing away has brought the team closer.

“I could not be more excited without the girls play today,” said Hayes. “Coming back from 3-0 down to win the last four matches, all in three sets shows how much heart this team has. There’s nothing better than road trips. You’re with the girls all the time and you bond together, and we became a closer team this weekend.” 

The Lady Lions will host Abilene Christian University next on March 25 at 11 a.m. Hayes expects another set of competitive matches next weekend.

“It’s gonna be tough,” said Hayes. “Last year, they beat us pretty badly, but I know our girls are up for the task and want to build on today’s win.”