Falcon tennis team set to open MAC season at WMU

Morgan Carlson and Morgan Carlson

The BG women’s tennis team will begin Mid-American Conference play this weekend after playing University of Illinois in Chicago today and opening their MAC season against Western Michigan University tomorrow. The Falcons will face the WMU Broncos tomorrow after preparing all season for MAC play. The women have been brushing up on individual skills this past week leading up to the opening match. ‘I will be working on placement of all of my shots going into MAC season,’ senior Kelsey Jakupcin said. ‘I have been moving the ball around the court a lot more during my last few matches and making my opponent run and expend more energy than I do.’ The Broncos (13-4) are led by senior Kerstin Pahl, the winningest player in the history of Western Michigan tennis, men’s or women’s, with 215 career wins. Pahl was named MAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week for the second time this season and the fourth time in her career on Wednesday. Last year, the Falcons lost the matchup with the Broncos 5-2 but hope to be on the winning side this year. WMU has an overall record of 33-0 against BG. WMU is the defending champion of the MAC title four years running though the Falcons are prepared to fight for that title. ‘In the past we have always had a strong and competitive match against Western Michigan, and I expect the same this year,’ senior Stefanie Menoff said. ‘I believe that if the team goes into the match with a positive and competitive attitude we could win.’ Coach Penny Dean is also very optimistic going into the match. ‘I expect it to be a very tough match,’ Dean said. ‘We will see a lot of balls coming back on every point. I expect us to win because we are more than capable of beating them this year. We have to bring our mental toughness.’ Jakupcin is also adamant about the Falcons capability to beat the Broncos tomorrow. ‘I predict a very good match with [WMU], just like last year,’ Jakupcin said. ‘I know that if we are in the right mindset and believe in ourselves, we can beat them on any given day.’ As the weather gets warmer, Dean says the team will be hitting the outdoor courts to get used to the different conditions. Up until this point, the Falcons have been playing at the Perrysburg Tennis Center, where they hold a 5-0 record. Overall, the women are 7-2. The match at UIC is scheduled for today at 12 p.m. CT, and the WMU match is set for tomorrow at 1 p.m.