GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Coming off an 8-1 victory over Cornerstone, the Calvin women's tennis team secured city bragging rights with a thrilling 5-4 victory over crosstown-rival Aquinas. The Knights improve to 2-0 on the season and give the Saints their first loss of the year at 2-1.
"I am very proud of the team," said head coach Kevin Van Haitsma. "We really had to battle all night to get this victory against a very good Aquinas team. We set the tone today with taking two of the three doubles matches that turned out to be huge. Also, a big shout out to Alexis Bonner coming up big in a high-pressure situation. What she did is not easy to do, especially for a freshman. We will enjoy this win and prepare for some other tough matches coming up.
The first point of the day came at No. 1 doubles where the freshman duo of Leah Newhof (Caledonia, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) and Madeline Brouwer (Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. The Knights would take down Remington Gerst and Martina Devetak, 8-3.
The Saints evened the match at one with a victory at No. 3 doubles.
Calvin struck back with a come from behind victory at No. 2 doubles. Trailing 5-6, the team of senior Lark Foote (Okemos, Mich./Home School) and sophomore Anna Asfour (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) rallied to win 8-6.
Leah Newhof rattled Remington Gerst at No. 1 singles, winning, 6-2, 6-3.
The Saints responded with a victory at No. 2 singles.
Anna Asfour pushed the lead back up two points with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Haley Kuppler at No. 4 singles.
Aquinas won the next two matches at No. 3 and No. 6 singles.
After falling in the first set to Darci TerHaar 3-6, freshman Alexis Bonner (Alto, Mich./Forest Hills Central) showed some grit and forced a match-deciding third set with a 6-4 victory in the second set. Bonner cruised in the third set and clinched a victory for the Knights with a 6-1 victory.
"Honestly it was just such a rush and one of the most strategic matches I have ever had to play," said Bonner. "The fact that I could pull out that strategy without failing throughout the last two sets was something I impressed myself with. I knew winning the match would mean the overall win for the team and I am so happy to have been able to win that for them. I never lost faith in myself and knew I could do it and the mindset made pulling out the win that much sweeter."
The Knights return to action on Friday for a match at Elmhurst.