The Mercyhurst College women’s tennis team has started off the season strong with a pair of strong 9-0 wins over Penn State Berhrand and Lake Erie College this past weekend.
Last season ended in heartbreak as the Mercyhurst women’s tennis team narrowly missed out on a NCAA Tournament bid as they fell to Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in the first round of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament.
The bitter taste of defeat last year has left junior roommates Kim Ezzo and Kelton Macke hungry and focused on one goal: make it to the NCAA tournament.
“The goal this year is to make it to the national tournament, and we have been playing as many matches as possible to stay sharp and accomplish this goal,” said Macke.
This notion has also been seconded by head coach Ray Yost.
“The goal this year is to finish second in the PSAC and to make it to the NCAA tournament and win a round or two,” said Yost.
Even with the heightened level of preparation, the Lakers still had to work off some rust against Berhand on Saturday, Sept. 5.
The women’s top doubles pair of Ezzo and Macke started strong, lost momentum and managed to pull out an 8-6 victory over Behrend’s top pair.
“The doubles match was a little sloppy, but it’s my first match together with Kelton. We were looking to work on some stuff to get comfortable and also to work out some nerves,” Ezzo said.
The rest of the women’s team cruised as the Lakers swept the doubles matches.
Ezzo, even though admittedly a little under the weather for the matches, cruised through her singles match, defeating Behrend’s top player 6-0, 6-1.
The rest of the team also cruised to a sweep of the singles matches, securing a 9-0 victory without dropping a single set.
The women’s team went back to work the very next day against Lake Erie College but this time with a bold prediction by Yost.
“I am going to start all my freshman against Lake Erie and we are still going to beat them,” said Yost the day prior to the match.
Yost was not pleased by Lake Erie’s failure to inform him that they would only be bringing four players, two short of the six minimum, only the day before the contest.
“It was truly an embarrassment. If I had known this was going to be the case earlier, I wouldn’t have even played this match,” said Yost.
The Lakers blew away the Storm, 9-0, headlined by freshmen Rebecca Haener, McKenzie Cona, Samantha Zimmerman and Jenna Raynor, who all won in straight sets.
The doubles pair of Ezzo and Macke also won their second doubles match without even raising a racket as they won by default as Lake Erie could not produce a third doubles team.
Macke and sophomore Courtney Conway also picked up victories by default in singles.
The women’s team will continue its season with the Allegheny Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 12 in Meadville and then face Baldwin-Wallace College on Sunday, Sept. 13 , at 1 p.m. at Penn State Behrend.