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FHSU tennis closes fall with loss to Newman

Published on -10/7/2012, 8:22 PM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

A couple hours prior to the Fort Hays State University women's tennis team's match against Newman University on Friday, FHSU coach Brian Flax said he didn't think they would be able to play.

It had rained around noon, and the cloud cover and humidity made it difficult to get the courts dry. Flax and his assistant coach spent approximately an hour and a half squeegeeing off FHSU's six courts and got it done in the nick of time.

The Tigers ended the fall season with a 7-2 loss to Newman University (4-0), but the dual featured several close losses for FHSU, which made the score not indicative of how close the match actually was.

"I was real proud of the girls," Flax said. "It was tough conditions out here having to wait. They came out and gave everything they had."

The loss was a disappointing end to a successful fall season. The Tigers finished 4-2, which included wins against NCAA Division II opponents Colorado Mesa University and Colorado Christian University.

Flax said he doesn't expect Friday's loss to hang over his players' heads through the winter.

"These guys came out and played a quality team and stepped up and played hard," Flax said. "We talked about some of the weaknesses that we have to get after in the winter. Now, we have a chance to train and lift a bit and make ourselves better athletes."

It was a miserable day for tennis, with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s, but sophomore Caitlyn Wark said she didn't notice it while she was playing.

"As long as I don't sit and get cold, I'm fine," Wark said.

Wark was a part of both of FHSU's wins.

Wark and her doubles partner, sophomore Camille Caron-Bedard, won 8-2 against Newman's No. 2 doubles team composed of Courtney Dold and Hillary Hicks.

"I think in doubles, I came out and didn't warm up besides the (pre-match) warm up, and me and Camille came out and had a ton of fun," Wark said.

Wark also won at No. 3 singles, but it was the result of a forfeit. Hicks, her opponent, won the first set 6-2 but suffered an ankle injury in the second set.

"I mean it's bad she hurt herself, but I've been in that position as well where I've had to forfeit matches because of my injury," Wark said. "I feel for her there and know what it's like."

The Tigers also had several close matches in singles.

FHSU seniors Melissa Skovira and Laura Johnson lost at No. 4 and No. 5 singles in tiebreakers, respectively. Skovira lost, 6-2, 1-6, 10-6, to Dold, while Johnson fell, 2-6, 6-3, 12-10, to Taylor Jordan.

The Tigers finished the fall season 30-26 in singles matches and 20-8 in doubles matches.

Wark said improving doubles play was something Flax emphasized after FHSU finished 40-33 in doubles last season.

"I think we came out this fall and knew we wanted to do better," Wark said. "We started and came up with more intensity in practice, and it's showed on the courts."

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