Difficult matches for tennis

The Trinity women’s tennis team pulled a 9-0 shutout win against McMurry University Friday April 13.

This win brings the Tigers to 14-5 for the season and marks their sixth consecutive team win.

“McMurry is a scrappy team, at times unpredictable. We knew we had an advantage in terms of skills and ranking, and we ended up doing what we were supposed to do,” said sophomore Lavinia Bendandi.

Bendandi won 6-0 and 6-1 in her singles match.  First year Mackenzie Knoop and junior Thavindra Ekanayake were among the top five players, with wins in both singles and doubles.  Knoop and Ekanayake won 8-1 in their doubles match and were in the top two singles positions immediately after.  Knoop won 6-2 and 6-0 in the number one position, and Ekanayake went 6-0 and 6-0 in the number two position.

Sophomore Kylie Hornbeck was nominated SCAC player of the week and went 6-0 twice in the number four slot.

“I was incredibly excited to find out and especially surprised, really, since I play number four for Trinity.  I think, though, that this just shows how strong our team is this year [because] Thavi and Mackenzie have both been SCAC players of the week this year as well, so to have had three of us this season is awesome,” Hornbeck said.

“Kylie has been great all year.  She’s the perfect teammate and competitor.  She’s hardly lost any matches all year.  She has proven to be very reliable.  The best part is her demeanor and work ethic.  She’s put in time to work on anything we’ve asked her to do,” said head coach Russell McMindes.

Hornbeck’s doubles partner, senior Katie Griffith, also had a successful weekend, winning 6-0 and 6-1 in her singles match.  Then she paired up with Hornbeck to win 8-3 in the number two position.  Sophomore Stephanie Williamson was able to win 6-1 and 6-2 in the number six position, and then teamed up with senior Kassie Seger to win 8-4 in the number three doubles position.

The Tigers also had matches against University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma Christian University.  The Tigers unfortunately lost 8-1 and 7-2.  These two losses bring the Tigers to a 14-7 record for the season.

Mackenzie Knoop was able to snag the Tigers’ only win in the opening match against Central Oklahoma, scoring 7-6 and 7-5 in the number one singles position.  When Knoop paired up with Ekanayake for their doubles match they unfortunately fell short, losing 8-5.

“This past weekend was a bit rough, as we had one convincing win and then a couple of lopsided losses,” McMindes said. “The thing we have been pushing the most is just trying to improve each day and work on being the best competitors we can be.  Making sure we don’t fold when the pressure mounts or things get close.”

Both the teams of Griffith and Hornbeck and Williamson and senior Kassie Seger fell short in the matches losing 8-6.  In Hornbeck’s singles matches she came short with a 7-5, 5-7 and 7-10 loss.

“We were not particularly happy about the matches this past weekend.  Yes, the teams we played were strong, but I don’t think any of us went into the matches with the right mindset.  This week we’ve really been trying to regain our focus,” said Hornbeck.

Against Oklahoma Christian University all Trinity’s points were via default.

“Team effort in every single practice is the most important thing.As our coaches say, it’s not about talent anymore, it’s about who works harder,” Bendandi said. “I believe we are working very hard, so hopefully it will pay off in conference and later on.”

The Tigers conclude their regular season schedule at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 21, by hosting Hardin-Simmons University.

“I feel very confident.  It’s our last home match and final match of the regular season before conference, so I know the girls will be excited and eager to perform,” McMindes said.