The women’s tennis team finished in third place at the Hack Kellner Tournament held in Springfield, Illinois, on March 20-21.
The event is hosted by University of Illinois – Springfield, and features a field of all four-year schools with Lewis and Clark being the only community college.
“The women played pretty well all weekend considering the environment,” said head coach Jim Hunstein. “It was generally good competition. More importantly, I feel as though we came out of the tournament a better team than when we went in.”
The team began the tournament with the strongest team in the tournament, host UIS. The Trailblazers lost the overall match 3-6. The story of the match was the weather. By the time the match was over, it was cloudy and windy and the temperature was a brisk 44 degrees. The players posting wins over UIS included sophomore Claire Morrissey (Alton) at two singles (4-6, 6-4, 10-7), sophomore Abby Mundel (Wood River) at five singles (5-7, 6-3, 12-10), and freshman Alex Dennis (Godfrey) at six singles (6-4, 6-1).
The next day started better all around, according to Hunstein. It was sunny and warmer and the Trailblazers swept Kentucky Wesleyan College 9-0. The team was aided by two defaults (at three doubles and six singles) due the opposition having only five players.
Those winning matches included freshman Mel Schlaeger (Hanau Germany) and Morrissey at one doubles (8-3), sophomore Taylor Stevenson and freshman Nikki Steiner at two doubles (8-1), Schlaeger at one singles (6-0, 6-1), Morrissey at two singles (1-6, 6-3, 10-6), Stevenson at three singles (4-6, 6-3, 10-3), Steiner at four singles 6-0, 6-0), Mundel at five singles (6-1, 6-0).
That afternoon Lewis and Clark took on Calumet College of St. Joseph (IN) on one of the nicer days for tennis, weather-wise, so far this season. The Trailblazers lost the match 4-5 despite Calumet College having to yield two matches (two singles and six singles) due to injury during the matches.
The Trailblazers won the following matches outright; Schlaeger and Morrissey at one doubles (8-5) and Stevenson and Steiner at two doubles (8-6). Morrissey also won at two singles (3-0, retired) and Mundel won at six singles (3-0, retired) in the injury-shortened contests.
The Trailblazers emerged from the tournament with an overall record of 3-4. However, they remain 1-0 against two-year schools. That record will be put to the test in their next match with they travel to Rend Lake College on Thursday, March 26. This is their second match against a Region 24 opponent.