Long after all of her teammates had finished their matches and the fate of her team had been decided, GW freshman tennis player Mimi Hamling was still playing. The sun was setting and many of her teammates had ice taped to their aching bodies, but Hamling remained on the court, finishing the most fiercely contested match of the day.
By the time it ended, Hamling’s No. 2 singles match didn’t mean much, with the freshman’s victory serving only to lessen the 5-2 deficit by which the Colonials fell to Temple Saturday afternoon. But although the match would eventually prove irrelevant in the outcome of the overall contest, it didn’t stop Hamling from getting heated, exchanging arguments and trading words with her opponent throughout the match.
“She just had a couple problems with calling the lines, whether it was out or in,” Hamling said of her opponent, Temple senior Anastasiia Rukavyshnykova. “She just wasn’t sure about everything, so she kept questioning the ref and stuff… she just got really heated. That kind of made the match more intense than it should have been.”
Hamling said the arguments, which were mostly instigated by Rukavyshnykova over Hamling’s line calls, were not typical of her style of play. The freshman also said that the arguments at times were a distraction for her, forcing her to refocus mid-match.
“It kind of got to me for a little bit, but I just have to realize that that doesn’t help me at all,” Hamling said. “I just kind of try to block it out and just stay composed and not have her get to me.”
Beyond Hamling’s win, GW lost all but one other point against Temple, with sophomore Jacqueline Corba earning the Colonials’ other point with her victory in the No. 1 singles. The Colonials also managed to win the No. 1 doubles, but dropped the other two doubles matches to lose the lone doubles point to the Owls. GW head coach Dawn Buth said that her team’s struggles with consistency were to blame for the loss.
“I think they were much better competitors than we were today,” Buth said. “Even though we’ve had some success kind of early on in our season, our ability to keep that kind of consistent throughout our matches has been a little up and down. Too many unforced errors, and they were the better competitors.”
“We have, definitely, room to improve,” Buth added.
With just three opponents left before the Atlantic 10 championships in Saint Louis, Buth said her team would need to get back to the kind of tennis it played earlier in the season when it beat last year’s conference champions Richmond Feb. 27. To get back to that level, Buth said that her team will need to redouble its efforts as it wraps up its regular season.
“I think in part it’s good that we’ve had a good win, against Richmond for example, because we know we’re capable of performing at that level so it keeps us, I guess in one sense, motivated,” Buth said. “In other ways, it’s almost better that you lose matches like this, because it makes you really commit to these next three weeks, and instead of just being kind of complacent about our next three matches, we’re purpose-driven.”
The Colonials will have back-to-back matches next weekend, with a road date Saturday at James Madison followed by a home match-up against Towson Sunday. Games next weekend will start at 1:30 and 2 p.m., respectively.