Tuesday afternoon the Waynesburg University women’s tennis team traveled to Grove City College for a Presidents’ Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinal match.
The eighth seeded Jackets fell to the top seeded Wolverines for the second year in a row, 9-0. While the result is disappointing, it isn’t surprising either given the strong season Grove City had.
“They’re the number one team in the conference and only had one loss all year,” head coach Ron Headlee said. “We knew it was going to be a tough match for us going in.”
The Jackets lost at Grove City by the same 9-0 score earlier this season Oct. 9, but even though the score was the same, Headlee felt Tuesday’s match played differently than the previous one.
“I thought they played better than they did the last time,” Headlee said.
Freshman Hayley Sweeney came close to winning game one of fifth singles, losing 6-4, and then, 6-1 in game 2.
Waynesburg finishes the season with a 1-11 overall record, and 0-7 mark in PAC play. As his fourth season as coach of both the men’s and women’s tennis team wraps up, Headlee had a positive takeaway for the women’s team that the untrained eye wouldn’t notice.
“Overall on the season I was really happy,” Headlee said. “Never happy with the wins and losses, I thought we could have had more, but we [were] definitely in a lot more of the matches this year than we were last year.”
Indeed they were. Last year, Waynesburg had more wins, going 2-9, but of those nine losses, seven were by a score of 9-0. This year, only three matches ended with with Waynesburg not winning a match, two of which were contests with top ranked Grove City, and the other a Sep. 12 loss at third ranked Westminster.
Waynesburg also lost three games by narrow 5-4 margins.
The women’s team will lose four seniors to graduation in the spring; Lauren Wadsworth, Sierra Stevens, Noelle Hughes, and Rachel Mangan.
“We’ll definitely miss them,” Headlee said.
Looking ahead to next season, Kyleigh Schmidt is the lone sophomore on the team, but is expected to play a large role in her junior season.
“She was playing number one for us, and I think she’s our strongest player right now,” Headlee said.
In the 2020-21 season the Jackets hope to climb up in the PAC standings and for Headlee, they might be just a few pieces away from doing just that.
“If we can just get a couple more recruits, I think we can have a solid lineup for next year,” he said.