Trinity sends women’s doubles team to National Small College Championships after regional win

The Trinity women’s tennis team competed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southwest Regional Tournament Sept. 19-21,  which was held here at Trinity.

Sophomore Liza Southwick and first year Marie Lutz captured the doubles title, and Southwick also finished as the runner-up in the singles competition.

Southwick and Lutz””second seeds in the doubles tournament””won the championship 6-4, 7-6 (4) over the top seeded pair of Amy Friesenhahn and Tori Musngi from the University of Texas-Tyler.

Head coach Gretchen Rush was impressed with their ability to compete after playing long matches all weekend, including some doubleheaders.

“They played their hearts out and they really came through in the end,” Rush said.

Regarding the length of the weekend Southwick said, “It was long, but I guess that’s why you play, though””for the thrill of it.”

With this win, the team advances to the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships.

“It’s crazy, this was my goal coming into college tennis,” Southwick said. “I don’t think it has hit me yet””like we’re just going to South Carolina that’s cool””but having All-American status is just a whole other level.”

Southwick and Lutz became the first Trinity doubles team to win this title since Mackenzie Knoop and Thavindra Ekanayake in 2012.

In singles, junior Gabrielle Roe, Southwick and Lutz competed in the “A” draw semifinals.

Southwick was the runner-up in the tournament, losing a long three set match 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to defending champion Sofia Vega of Texas Lutheran University.

Southwick, the No. 2 seed, was dominant on her way to the championship match. She bested fellow teammate, No. 12 Roe, 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals, and dropped a total of nine games in the previous four matches.

In the other semifinal, No. 5 Lutz lost 4-6, 3-6 to Vega as well. In her quarterfinal match, she took out No. 10 Diana Roy from the University of Texas-Dallas 6-3, 6-0 and dropped only four games in the first three rounds.

The loss to Vega was a huge motivator for both Lutz and Southwick in their doubles final.

“I feel like it almost put a fire under us,” Lutz said. “You want to make it [to] nationals and if you can’t make it in singles then you’re going to make it in doubles.”

Junior Caroline White also won on Sunday in the consolation “A” singles final.  She beat Emilie Moeller of Southwestern University 6-4, 6-2 to win the title.

The Tigers also showed good results as a team in the tournament.  There were six individuals that made it to at least the quarterfinal round in their singles draw, and three doubles teams made it to at least the semifinal round of their draw.

The Tigers’ team unity and support was strong for the Tigers during the competition as well. “It’s not even like a team””it’s like a family””It’s like your family is there supporting you,” said Lutz.

Southwick and Lutz will travel to Sumter, South Carolina for the National Small College Championships from Oct. 9-12.

The spring season for the Tigers begins Friday, Jan. 30, at the Abilene Christian University indoors in Abilene, Texas.