Reclaiming their glory

Without a win for two straight years, Concordia’s women’s tennis team won their first match of the season

tennis Kendra Stoick
Freshman Kendra Stoick prepares to hit a backhand shot during a past match. Photo courtesy of the Concordia Sports Information Office.

For the first time in two years, the women’s tennis team won a match.

After seasons spent win-less, and in the cellar of the MIAC conference, members of Concordia’s women tennis team pulled out a close one from Bemidji State University to win their season opener, which took place on Sunday, Feb. 1

For head coach Steve Futchko, the win was more about the team and what they had finally accomplished. According to Futchko, the 5-4 victory that broke a two-year, 35-match losing streak for the Cobbers, felt more important for the upperclassmen that had experienced the two-year losing streak in Concordia women’s tennis.

“To spend a whole year not winning a match, and then to win the first one the next year is amazing,” Futchko said. “It was [the ladies’] turn to celebrate, not mine.”

Futchko believes that the development of the program over the last year has started showing with this win. According to the head coach, the winless season gave the squad experience of playing good MIAC opponents. In addition, being able to practice on actual tennis courts has helped the ladies with practices.

Second year coach Futchko appreciates how poise and preparation have gotten the ladies to this point in their rebuilding journey. The new found energy has helped the team learn how to win close matches.

“The things that we’re doing in practice; it’s working because those were tough matches to pull out,” Futchko said. “Last year, they may have not been able to pull those matches out.

Futchko pointed out the win as a large morale booster. Last year, he did a lot of encouraging, but a lack of wins left little hope in the ladies that they would ever win a match. During the last match of their first meet this season, team captain, Brittany Glatt, remembers the feeling of being on the verge of winning, but not believing in the possibility.

tennis Brittany Glatt
Junior Brittany Glatt swings a forehand at the baseline. Photo courtesy of the Concordia Sports Information Office.

“You could tell that [Taylor Peterson] was going to pull [the clinching match] out,” Glatt said. “But at the same time, because we hadn’t experienced a win yet, we were just sitting there. I was just holding my breath. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

As a junior, Glatt had never experienced a win during her two years with the women’s tennis program until Feb. 1. According to Glatt, three of the eight members of the team have been there for both losing seasons. Glatt believes the great start to the season gives the team something to strive for in competition.

“I am just looking forward to really pushing a lot of those teams because they are not going to be expecting anything from us,” Glatt said. “So it will be exciting if we go out and we beat them.”

Even though the first win in three seasons is a triumph for the Cobber women, the team is still looking to improve their skillset and use their tough experiences to try and win more matches.

According to Jade Haseltine, the team’s junior captain, reaching the team’s objectives will be done by having building blocks that add up to huge team effort. The youthfulness of the team has helped them learn from their losses and gained experience in competition. Haseltine feels building towards the development of the team will work to the team’s advantage.

“Losing was tough last year, but I was more about achieving smaller goals,” Haseltine said. “I knew that our team was young, and that we would grew throughout the years.”

For these young women, a win is testament to how much they have endured and worked hard to rebuild a program that was in a transitional period before the arrival of their head coach.

Like her coach, Haseltine believes that the win has boosted the ladies’ confidence and has allowed them to believe that they can compete with other programs in their conference.

“I feel like we are going to win more matches,” Haseltine said. “There’s a great group of girls so I am just excited to keep going. I think it’s a great start for us for the season.”

As the team prepares for upcoming match-ups, spirits are high. Moving forward, coach Futchko hopes that the season will continue with the same positive attitude and more improvements. For the moment though, the coach is happy that his squad finally knows how it feels to win and hopes for more victories to come.

“It’s [going to] be a better year for [the women in that aspect that they are [going to] have a little more confidence,” Futchko said. “Knowing that, hey, I got that monkey off my back, and we got that first win. It feels great.”

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