Women’s tennis searching for first victory


John Bell

Sophomore Megan Kimpel begins her first season on the women’s tennis team. Guilford only had two returners from last season./Photo Courtesy of John Bell, Touch A Life Photography

Guilford’s women’s tennis team has searched for the same thing since Feb. 19, 2017. A win.

Still, the team has a bond that goes beyond wins and losses, and the game plays a larger role in the lives of the athletes.

“Our biggest goal is to have fun while learning to play tennis,” said senior Brooklyn Hopkins. “This season, my biggest individual goal is to enjoy my last season and really learn as much about tennis as I can.”

Hopkins is playing primary second in singles and doubles for her second season with Guilford. She has played first in doubles in the team’s last two matchups with Old Dominion Athletic Conference rivals Ferrum College and Sweet Briar College. Like many of the athletes on the team, she was not actively recruited to compete at the College.

“I have played tennis since my (first year) of high school, so I’ve played for seven years,” said Hopkins. “I was introduced to tennis at Guilford my sophomore year through an ad in the Buzz. One of my friends told me I should join the team.”

A concerning factor for the team has been their ability to retain players. Only three players returned for last year’s campaign from the 2015-16 team. This season’s team only saw Hopkins and fellow senior Makayla McLaurin. They may see similar challenges next season, with a roster of only eight, half of them seniors and no first-year players.

“We are a fairly new team with only two returners, so I feel like our biggest goal is to have fun while learning to play tennis,” said Hopkins.

With four players that can return for head coach Dave McCain next season, the younger players are using this year as a stepping stone moving forward.

Currently, however, the veterans are leading the team. McLaurin is the primary lead-off player for the Quakers and plays first in doubles.

The ODAC is currently led by Washington and Lee University who has yet to lose a game in league play. The Lady Generals have won the ODAC eight straight times.

They are followed by Lynchburg College at 4-0 in league play and 8-2 overall. The Hornets are currently on a five-game winning streak. Christina Harris of Lynchburg leads the conference in singles at nine wins with no losses.

Hopkins made a strong showing in the Quakers’ match with the Hornets on Feb. 24. She won seven games in singles, the most of any of Guilford’s players in the matchup.

The Quakers’ next match is Saturday, April 7, on the road where they will take on Shenandoah University. Their next home game will be the next weekend, Saturday, April 14, against Emory & Henry College.