One of the most challenging tests in sports is defending a championship the year after winning one.
This year's Hillsdale College women's tennis team is proof that strength rejoices in the challenge.
The Chargers won their second straight Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament championship Saturday afternoon, defeating Walsh University 4-1 in Owensboro, Kentucky. Hillsdale, 16-2 on the season, put the cap on a perfect first two years in G-MAC competition, going undefeated in conference play in both 2018 and 2019, and winning the postseason tournament both years.
Doubles play got everything started, and the No. 3 doubles team of Madeline Bissett and Kamryn Matthews played their usual reliable tennis in earning a 6-3 win. Sophomore Hannah Cimpeanu and freshman Sarah Hackman, both First-Team All-Conference players, clinched the doubles point for the Chargers with a 6-2 win.
Matthews has never lost a conference tournament match in either singles or doubles, and kept that streak alive with a 6-0, 6-1 victory at No. 5 singles, the first singles match to finish.
After a Walsh win at No. 4 singles, senior Corinne Prost took Hillsdale one step closer to a title with a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 6 singles. Hackman, making her postseason debut, wrapped up the championship for the Chargers by winning 6-3, 7-5 at No. 2 singles.
As a result of this win, Hillsdale receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament for the second year in a row. Regional play will take place May 13-14 at the No. 1 seed of the region. The Chargers entered play this weekend ranked sixth in the region.
PHOTO: Liz Wacienga/Kentucky Wesleyan