Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

When we last left the West Chester University women’s tennis team, they were coming off of a comfortable 7-2 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division win over East Stroudsburg University. However, this win needed to be quickly forgotten in the face of matching up against division powerhouse Bloomsburg later in the week. The April 2 match against Bloomsburg started out promising with the first doubles team of Brittany Counts and Luisiana Souto taking a 9-7 victory over their opponents. The Huskies, unfortunately, took the two other doubles match-ups despite the efforts of Kara Shumock and Nicole Paller at third doubles, who fell 8-6 and went into the singles competition up 2-1.

Things were looking good for the Golden Rams after Claire Afrassiabian improved her record with a 6-0, 6-1 win at fourth singles to make the score 3-2 (after a Bloomsburg victory at sixth singles). However, Bloomsburg continued to pull away with three more singles victories in succession to effectively put the match out of reach.

WCU’s women had a fantastic chance to steal another point at second singles with a fantastic showing from Souto, who fell in a third set tie-breaker as the team dropped to 1-1 in the PSAC Eastern Division.

They rebounded again from a loss with a 9-0 demolishing of the University of the Sciences in a non-conference match just two days later.

The Golden Rams then notched another PSAC win with another 9-0 rout, this time against Shippensburg. Performances were stellar all around, with all nine victories coming in straight sets. Of the six singles matches, five of them were straight set shutouts, with only one game being dropped in the other.

The three doubles teams combined only gave up three games, with the second doubles team of Allie Fetter and Alex Santoro putting forth an 8-0 shutout performance and helping the women’s record to 2-1 in the conference and 10-8 overall.

“I think our season has been going pretty well,” said team captain Shumock. “We have two big matches coming up this weekend [April 8-9] against Millersville and Kutztown. They’re both PSAC matches which are necessary for post-season play.”

Head Coach Tina Tharp couldn’t have agreed more.

“The matches coming up are Millersville, Kutztown, and Cheyney,” she said. “We need to win all three to clinch second place in the east and make post-season play.”

All the anticipation building up to the important match against Millersville this past Friday was dissipated as the weather, which has continually affected both practice time and match play, postponed the match for a later date.

This let down did not linger as the Golden Rams made their way to the south campus courts to take on Kutztown on Saturday. Faced with the opportunity to better their chances of a playoff appearance they cruised to their third consecutive 9-0 victory and improved to 3-1 in conference play.

Much like their victory over Shippensburg all victories came in straight sets with Souto, Fetter, Afrassiabian and Santoro winning their singles matches in shutout fashion. West Chester’s score was padded at sixth singles and third doubles with forfeits from the Raiders.

With only four matches remaining, two being conference play (including the make-up against Millersville), the Golden Rams will be looking to guarantee their appearance in the PSAC playoffs and continue to build on their current form in order to make a run at an appearance in the Division II NCAA Tournament.

Brian Johnson is a third-year student majoring in English. He can be reached at

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