After an eight-match win streak, the Elon University women’s tennis team returned home for the first time since March 11 to face Colonial Athletic Association opponent the University of Delaware Blue Hens. The Phoenix suffered its first loss at home, snapping the winning streak after a 4-2 battle.
Head coach Elizabeth Anderson said the match was hard-fought and the team will learn from its mistakes moving forward.
“It went down to the wire and it could’ve gone either way,” Anderson said. “We're just going to take the things that we've learned from this match and work on those over the next few weeks.”
The Phoenix was initially overpowered by the Blue Hens in doubles, losing the overall point. Senior Julie Ball and freshman Madison Cordisco were able to win their match 6-3, finishing first, but the other two Elon teams fell shortly after. Senior Sibel Tanik and junior Lizette Reding’s doubles loss snapped their six-match winning streak.
Ball was able to transfer her doubles win into her singles match, winning 6-1, 6-1, and evening the overall score 1-1. Anderson said she was proud of her momentum.
Tanik and Cordisco both fell in their matches with two straight losses, but the Phoenix was still in contention. Graduate student Olivia Archer started her match with a 6-3 loss but did not give up.
“The biggest thing I saw was just my ability to fight and not leave the court until I won,” Archer said. “That was honestly my biggest goal.”
Archer stayed on the court and fought for her victory, winning the next two sets 6-4, 6-3 and earning a point for the Phoenix. This win also marked something bigger for Archer, as she tied Frida Jansaker’s record of all-time Elon singles wins with 68.
“I'm so happy I was able to be at Elon for five years to actually get to experience and at the very least tie that record,” Archer said. “I definitely have big hopes of eventually breaking it, but in the big picture, I'm honestly more focused on conference championships and helping in any way I can to help the team out.”
Anderson said she was proud of Archer’s performance today.
“She's done a great job, and she just competes really hard every single match,” Anderson said.
Reding and freshman Helen Sarikulaya were left on the court for the Phoenix, until Reding eventually lost 6-2 in her third set, clinching the match for the Blue Hens 4-2. Sarikulaya’s match was left unfinished.
Both Anderson and Archer said they are looking forward to improving the team in practice prior to its next match against Radford University at 1 p.m. April 1 at home.
“I feel like we've been on a really good path and an upward trajectory as a team, but I think every really good team and especially championship teams needs something like this to happen to really light a fire under them,” Archer said.