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Georgetown College women's tennis team has battled through injuries and youthfulness this season. The Tigers are 4-11, but 2-2 in conference play and are coming off one of their better matches all season.
"The score may indicate one thing when you look at it, but once you dig deeper a brighter picture can be seen," said GC coach Jessica Cunningham. "Indiana Wesleyan is 15-0 this season with some 9-0 victories against teams ranked in the Top 25."
Georgetown came out of this past weekend's match with a 7-2 loss to the Wildcats and were close in a couple of games that could have had the score 5-4. Shelby Eden took her opponent to a third set tiebreaker before losing her singles match, and top doubles team of Kaitlyn Thompson and Emily Krick lost 9-7 having match points leading 7-6.
"It was a great match," Cunningham said. "We also had Jacqueline Otis, who has been consistently our three seed, have her first victory at the number two spot."
Otis has been one of the first-year coach's brighter spots. Her current record is 12-3 and at one point she was on pace to break Cunningham's single-season, match-win record at Georgetown.
"She is a third-generation Georgetown College student," the coach said. "Her grandfather played basketball here and then her father, John Otis, played for Coach (Bill) Cronin's men's tennis team that won the KIAC in 1984.
"She's a very good player and some people might overlook her, but she's just a competitor. She buckles down and wins, and wins a lot."
Otis reeled off six wins, three in the fall and three in the spring, before suffering her first singles loss to Lindsey Wilson's Slavica Milanovic. The Blue Raider is an NAIA All-American following her 14-5 record this past season at the No. 2 and 3 seed.
"Jacqueline has been a real joy to coach and have on the team," Cunningham said.
Unfortunately, injuries have continued to hamper the Tigers. Juniors Haley Hart, foot, and Thompson, wrist and knee, along with sophomore Shelby Eden, shoulder, have had to limit action or play different roles then Cunningham would have liked to see this season.
Hart, who coupled with Natalie Hill this past fall, was runner-up in the ITA Regional tournament - losing to LWC's top doubles pair. Hill and Hart were ranked 10th nationally coming out of that event. However, Hart's injury has limited her mobility and style for the short-term.
"It's very unfortunate and difficult, but she's a true competitor," Cunningham said. "She had to sit out for a while and now she is coming back and finding anyway she can help the team. It is certainly not what we planned or hoped for to begin with, but that is part of athletics."
Thompson has been riddled with injures most of her college career. She has continuously fought back and at times had to be limited to just playing doubles.
"We are young and where we aren't young we are injured," Cunningham said. "But through it all, I see them learning and coming together and that is what is important. To see how we fought and played against Wesleyan was amazing. I'm so proud of what they are doing.
"It isn't always about the wins and losses."
The Tigers host Mid-South Conference foe University of Virginia College at Wise Saturday. Match time is 1 pm.
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