Tennis team uses fall to shape up

Sophomore Zoey Nelson takes a swing during practice last week. Nelson opened her season with a 8-5 singles win over an opponent from Montana.

By Drew Lawson, Reporter

Fall brings the start of a new school year, and for the EWU women’s tennis team, a chance to grow both together and individually as they look toward team play in the spring.

The team got off to a strong start last weekend at the Bulldog Invitational held at Gonzaga University.

“The two things I really wanted to focus on going in was right along the lines of our motto for this year, which was ‘Unite the Fight,’” EWU head coach Dustin Hinson said. “I always want them to go out there, and on the ‘fight’ side, have the desire to do well […] with the ‘unite’ side, being a good cohesive group […] getting them to gel as a unit, and they really did that and supported each other.”

Freshman Madeline Lamoreux played in a singles match where she managed to top Montana State’s best player 7-6, (5), and 7-5. She said that her mentality helped her get a win in her first college match.

“I didn’t really know she was the top player at Montana [State],” Lamoreux said. “It helped a lot with the nerves and everything. I just wanted to compete and do well on the court.”

Sophomore Zoey Nelson played in both a singles and doubles match over the weekend at the Bulldog Invitational. She beat her opponent from Montana 8-5 in singles play and earned a win against players from Montana State 6-2 with her partner, sophomore Stephanie Broussard. Nelson, like Lampreux, also talked about the mental part of her game as keys to victory in both matches.  

“Tennis is a mindset,” Nelson said. “You try to put yourself in a position that’s positive, and go out there as if it were any other match.”

Both Lamoreux and Nelson are from Arizona. Lamoreux was drawn to EWU through family connections and a positive recruiting experience.

“Both my parents went here,” Lamoreux said. “When I took my visit here, everybody was super nice. The coach is really good over here too, so everything was looking good for the school.”

Nelson echoed the sentiments of receiving a positive experience while visiting EWU and also enjoyed her first interactions with Hinson. She added that the change of weather from her hometown of Goodyear, Arizona was another draw toward Cheney.

“I definitely wanted a place with four seasons, considering we lived in the heat for so long,” Nelson said. “Everyone was super nice and positive here, and Dustin [Hinson] was also a really good influence on my decision.”

Hinson is in his fourth season as coach. He said that while the fall tournaments and invitationals don’t count toward team record, they are still important for the players and team.

“We do compete for our team, but it’s really more of an individual tournament,” Hinson said regarding fall play.

Hinson said that because the invitationals are mostly based on individual performance, sometimes EWU players end up playing against each other.

“This last weekend we ended up playing a lot of our teammates,” Hinson said. “It’s fine, you just go out there and have fun with it.”

Fall tennis is an important time for drawing closer together and deciding which pairs of athletes might do well together in doubles play.

“[Fall] is for me, trying to see how the new [players] are doing coming in,” Hinson said. “It’s kind of a preseason in a way […] It’s a great chance for us to try some different doubles pairings, it works well for that.”

EWU women’s tennis returns to action next weekend at the ITA Northwest Regional, which runs from Oct. 18 through Oct. 22. The tournament occurs in Palo Alto, California and is hosted by Stanford University. Fans can follow the tournament live at•