Clay Sidenbender | Echo
Despite losing in the opening round of the Crossroads League tournament, women's head coach Jon Wegener would not have had his first season go any other way.
Wegener, a former assistant coach at James Madison University, took the reins this season and continued a tradition of winning. The 9-5 season marked the fourth straight winning season for the women's tennis program.
"You always want to win," Wegener said about the Grace match. "But my favorite part about my first season has been getting to know the girls."
The Taylor women's tennis team beat Indiana Institute of Technology (Indiana Tech) on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2017 to cap off the regular season. The win on senior night was followed by a loss to Grace College in the opening round of the Crossroads tournament on Oct. 9.
In the Indiana Tech match, the Trojans had the advantage right away because Indiana Tech did not show up with a full team. However, the players were not any less concerned about their opponent.
"I was feeling a little bit nervous because (Verodimenez) has beaten a lot of players that I've had close matches with," senior Molly Fletchall said about her one singles opponent. "But I came out there pretty confident, so that's why I think I got the win."
Fletchall won her one singles match 6-2, 6-4, but fell in her doubles matchup.
Taylor would only lose their two singles and one doubles matches, as the Trojans came out on top 7-2. Fletchall said the confidence of the Trojans was on their side.
"They're a good team," Fletchall said. "But I think we came out with the energy, had a lot more practice and had a lot more matches, so we were able to get the win."
Both Fletchall and Wegener noted all of the seniors got to play against Indiana Tech. A win with help from the senior class closed the season on good terms.
Indiana Tech on the other hand headed back to Fort Wayne with some unanswered questions about their play.
"We need to improve our net play," Brock Orlowski, Indiana Tech men's and women's tennis head coach said."We didn't finish at the net well enough. We need to make sure we are taking opportunities when we get them and not wait for them to come around again and again."
Orlowski, a first year head coach, said that despite the loss, he was happy with most of his players' performances.
Heading into the Grace match, the Trojans looked to even the score after losing to the Lancers 5-4 in their Sept. 22 meeting. Unfortunately, Taylor could not overcome Grace, losing 6-3.
"This time we lost in two key doubles matches and we didn't back it up with singles either," Wegener said. "I thought we had a pretty good chance to win."
The Taylor one doubles team duo of Fletchall and junior Alexa Kling put up a fight against their Grace opponent, but it was not enough. The only Taylor wins came from two doubles, two singles and three singles.
Closing the first chapter of the Wegener era, the Trojans hope to compete well in the spring. Wegener said after getting to know his new team, he is excited to see what they can do.
"Having hard work for a team is vital," Wegener said, "But seeing the team do the hard work with intensity is special for a coach . . . it will be interesting to see who decides to put in hard work during the offseason."
The spring will be a farewell tour for a team with five seniors. Four of five seniors currently make up the top six singles, so a reconstruction is on the horizon.
The spring schedule is not finalized on the Taylor Athletics website yet. According to Wegener, there are still a couple of games in the process of being scheduled.