The women’s tennis team completed their three-game homestand this weekend, defeating LMU 5-2 on Friday and falling to UCSB 6-1 on Saturday. The Women of Troy are now 2-1 on the season. In the game against UCSB, senior Gabby Smith took part in the only wins of the day, both in her singles match and in her doubles match with sophomore Becca Weissmann.
“Even though we lost, I thought that everybody really competed well, and there are places where we can improve,” Smith said. “It was a fun match. Obviously I want to win, but I want the team to win more.”
Although the loss hurt them in the standings, coach Alison Swain sees the game against UCSB and LMU as learning experiences.
“I think the girls had great insight after the match and clarity about how we’re going to handle being pushed by other teams,” Swain said. “And also what we did so well against LMU and in our win against San Diego, which was coming out with a lot of focused energy and cohesiveness as a team. I think the first three matches really shined a light on how important that is for us. So we’ll take that into this weekend and our upcoming matches for sure.”
Sophomore Constance Branstine and her partner, senior Madison Westby, took home the first win of the game against LMU, defeating the other team 6-0. Branstine attributes her success to their consistency.
“We were making our shots and sticking to the plan, and regardless of the score — we won that, I believe, 6-0 — our plan just worked every time, and all of our hard work that we did on the court really shone that day,” Branstine said. “I think that I executed my volleys really well, and Madison has a big serve, and she set me up really well, and vice versa. We work really well together.”
Branstine is a transfer student from UC Irvine this year, and appreciates the culture and atmosphere of her new team.
“I think that we all have the same goals in life, and with us all wanting to get better every day, and learn from our mistakes and from every match and practices,” she said. “I think that now I’m on a team where everybody just works really hard, and I’m so happy to be part of such an amazing atmosphere every day.”
The next match the Women of Troy play will be at Clemson University on Jan. 26. Swain is ready for both the challenge and the learning lesson that a top team like Clemson will present.
“We’re going to travel across the country, have a time change, be in a little different setting,” Swain said. “I think all those things are actually good for us. I want our team to be gritty and adaptable. It’s early season still, these are very important matches, but we’re also going to use them, win or lose, as stepping stones.”
Looking at the rest of the season, Swain is content to let the players decide on how ambitious they would like to be.
“I really let the girls set the outcome goal,” she said. “I think that’s up to them, that’s something they need to put out there and believe in. For me and for our coaching staff, it’s about them determining those, and then it’s about helping them lead the path to get there.”
The team’s next home game will be against Cal on Feb. 23.