By Jamison Schroeder
The Cleveland State University women’s tennis team started their fall season with a tight 4-3 win over Western Michigan University. Coming off of a 2019 season where they advanced all the way to the Horizon League Championship match for the first time since 2014, hopes are high for the team. Despite coming up just short of the team’s first ever Horizon League Championship, the team returns a lot of familiar faces, as seven players from last year’s team returns to represent Cleveland State.
That includes junior Klara Mrcela who was named to the All-Horizon League second team last year, and senior Kateryna Avram who broke the school record for wins in a single year last season.
After taking the entire month of December and half of January off from competing, the team took back to the court on Jan. 20 to take on Western Michigan. After winning the doubles point, the Broncos stormed back to take a 3-2 lead with two matches left. Senior Blanche Lenoan was able to tie the score at 3-3, and it came down to Avram. She would be up to the challenge, and won the match for the Vikings by defeating her opponent 7-6(7-2), 6-3.
After the win over Western Michigan, the duo of Mrcela and sophomore Lara Prosenjak won the Horizon League Doubles Team of the Week due to their dominant 6-1 win. Mrcela believes that the success is because of the trust that the two have developed.
“The two of us have a great chemistry going on right now; we both know what to expect from each other in crucial moments during matches,” Mrcela said. “We have a great attitude and confidence when playing together.”
The team returned to action Feb. 1 at the Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion to take on John Carroll University and St. Francis University. The Vikings dominated both matches, winning by a combined score of 13-1.
The team still has 19 matches in the season, but has gotten off to a fast start. They currently are 3-0 on the season and 2-0 when playing inside The Bubble, where they have 12 matches left for the spring. With the hunt for that elusive first Horizon League Championship now on, it will be worth it to keep an eye on what the team can do over the remainder of the season.