The UW-Whitewater Women's team was hitting on all cylinders this weekend, and cruised to their third straight WIAC final four AQ tournament title. How fitting it was to win this tournament and receive another NCAA bid on Senior Day for our seniors that have been a big part of the team’s recent success. Every spring this tournament brings together the top four finishers from the fall conference tournament to play off for the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament coming up next month. Because the Warhwawks won the conference tournament in the fall, they were the #1 seed and hosted the tournament. UW-La Crosse came in as the #2 seed, UW-Eau Claire was the #3 seed and UW-Steven's Point was #4. In the semis, UWW faced UWSP, while UWEC took on UWL. The winners of the matches would face off in the championship with the NCAA bid on the line.
Due to poor weather, the tournament was forced indoors to two nearby indoor tennis centers. The Wahwawks quickly disposed of UWSP without dropping a set. At the same time, UWEC and UWL were in a dogfight. UWL took a 2-1 lead after doubles, but UWEC clawed back winning all but one of the singles matches over La Crosse. This set up the final with the Warhawks taking on UW-Eau Claire.
The Warhawks have played an incredible schedule this spring including a spring break trip, a trip to Minnesota, and the Midwest Invite where they played 7 nationally ranked teams to get them ready. Eau Claire played a solid spring schedule and had gone undefeated in spring play heading into Saturday's final. The match started with three great doubles matches that UWW pulled out 8-5, 8-3, and 8-5 giving the Warhawks the momentum and a 3-0 lead. Singles also started off well. Schaefer looked particularly sharp, while Stensvaag, Daciolas, and Aguilar were all cruising at #2, #5, and #6. Smith and Siemon each started in first set holes, but were able to make solid adjustments to help them come back and win their matches and give the Warhawks a 9-0 win. In the 16 matches throughout the day, the Warhawks only dropped one set! It was also nice to see the two new doubles combinations clicking at #1 and #2 doubles in their first major competition since making the lineup change. For all individual scores for each match, go to www.uwwpsorts.com
Part of the inspiration on Saturday came from the Seniors on the team Kelly Rutkowski, Ingrid Stensvaag, and Michelle Daciolas. They were all honored on this senior day and for their accomplishments on and off the court. They have each been a part of the three consecutive conference title teams and three trips to the NCAA tournament, and all have GPAs over 3.5! They have all been involved in significant community service as well. They were not about to have a disappointing senior day, and their teammates wanted their last match at home to be a memorable one. That it was. It was the best the team played together as a unit the entire spring.
Next up for the Warhawks? The Lady Hawks will travel to Kenosha with the men's team where they will each take on Carthage College on Saturday, May 1 at 10am The men will also travel on Thursday, April 29th to Bloomington, IL to take on Illinois Wesleyan at 4pm.