Women’s tennis starts spring season

by Lexie HagertyStaff Writer

The Simpson women’s tennis team began their spring practice Feb. 1.

The Storm practices twice a week and will be competing in two home matches against Augustana University and Central College.

Currently, the season is short.

“Going forward, I would like to have at least five matches,” coach Lindsay Chase said.

The initial women’s tennis season is in the fall, but Chase said Simpson competes during the spring to work on skills and strategies.

“Spring gives us more time to focus on teamwork and skills,” Chase said. “I am working a lot with my underclassmen, trying things out to help them gain the confidence and use it in matches.”

Chase said she wants the girls to practice and strengthen their work ethic, mentality and attitudes in the spring season to prepare for the fall season.

The Storm finished their season during the fall, winning seven of their 16 matches. At the Iowa Conference Individual Tournament in Cedar Rapids on Oct. 18, seniors Alissa Nance and Gwen Kingsbury became the first Storm women’s tennis players to win an Iowa Conference individual title since 1996.

The Storm will return junior Taylor Browning, sophomore Jill Berner and freshman Lynae Gruber next year.

“We are going to have a really young team next year,” Chase said. “I hope to see a lot of leadership and guidance, continually improving their playing abilities and taking the challenge of helping those who are coming in.”

Simpson’s current team consists of seven girls and will lose four seniors at the end of the year.

“Since we have a small team, I am working on new weapons I can use,” Berner said. “I am trying to be receptive to new things in order to be competitive against the more competitive teams in our conference.”

Berner said the Simpson team was small last season, but it consisted of six quality players.

“I think we surprised a lot of people in the fall,” Gruber said. “So, I would like to continue that.”

Gruber said she hopes to build up on the skills that she already has.

“I have changed a lot of my techniques from the fall,” Gruber said. “I used to not like playing on the net, but I like it better now because I know what I am doing.”

Berner and Gruber both agreed that they had improved their game drastically over their time at Simpson.

“What’s nice about tennis is the coaches will pull us out of drills and give us one-on-one attention,” Berner said.

Chase said that coaches focus more on the one-on-one attention during spring season.

“The fall is so busy,” Chase said. “We are throwing in the meets constantly. You don’t have time to work on specific strokes and swings and strategy.”

Chase said she hopes to expand their season with more matches and an annual trip.

“Hopefully going into the future years, we will be able to go on a spring break trip,” Chase said.