By: Taylor Browne/GCU Staff
Club Tennis history was made this season.
The Grand Canyon University Club Tennis team’s 2019-20 season may have been cut short, but the Lopes reached program highs despite the COVID-19 disturbance. The Lopes competed in the Northern Arizona University 2019 Axe Cup for a second consecutive year, and the ‘A’ team earned the No. 1 seed in the Gold Flight, which brought the Lopes to the finals for the first time in program history.
“I can’t even imagine how all the seniors on all the athletic teams at every level must feel,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Ed Prudhomme. “To have everything halted without things coming to a natural end is tough.”
Lopes’ junior Ashley Fitzsimmons, amongst others, were recognized by Prudhomme for their standout performances this season.
“Ashley has unorthodox strokes, and opponents have underestimated her all year,” said Prudhomme. “She has defeated many opponents this year that have had higher rankings than her.”
The Lopes ended their season in the Southwest Section Championships for a third straight year in Tucson in late February. Due to unfortunate weather conditions, an entire round was cut out of the tournament. The Lopes’ ‘A’ team placed sixth overall.
The Lopes faced a variety of obstacles. In the end, Prudhomme was proud of how far his players have come.
“For me, it was seeing the improvement of my two lowest ranked female players from last year,” said Prudhomme. “These girls continued to improve as this season progressed, and they got to participate in their first competition this past November.”
Despite not having the ending the Lopes were hoping for, Prudhomme shed a positive light on an uncontrollable situation.
“This season was probably the most enjoyable season I’ve had coaching our program,” said Prudhomme. “The two team captains I had this year were really a big help-probably the best tandem the program has had.”
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