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Saturday, May 25, 2024
Women's Tennis

Wisconsin struggled in its final home match of the season.

Grambeau, Wisconsin women's tennis fall on Senior Day to Ohio State

Nielsen Tennis Stadium was filled with posters and messages for the Badgers’ lone senior, Kelsey Grambeau, before her senior day and last home match Sunday afternoon. But despite the fan-fair, UW (2-5 Big Ten, 8-11 overall) fell to No. 30 Ohio State (4-3,10-6) by a score of 5-2 in an emotional battle.

To open up doubles play, OSU’s third doubles team of Maria Tyrina and Danielle Wolf quickly took down UW’s Sara Castellano and Michelle Linden 6-2.

Second doubles duo of MaryAnn Rompf and Melissa Pick turned things right around for the Badgers, beating Olivia Snead and Mary Beth Hurley 6-3. To take the third and fourth games, Pick and Rompf scored eight out of nine points. Pick ended the matchup with a powerful backhand down the line.

With both sides winning a doubles match a piece, all eyes turned towards Sunday afternoon’s center of attention, Kelsey Grambeau, where she and Lexi Keberle were in a fierce battle with No. 25 doubles pair Anna Sanford and Shiori Fukuda for the doubles point.

Keberle and Grambeau quickly stormed out to a 5-2 lead. Tensions rose inside Nielsen as the pair of Buckeyes stormed back to 5-4. OSU went on to score the next eight points in a row to take a 6-5 lead.

At 6-5, head coach Kelcy McKenna took the freshman and senior duo to the side, trying to calm them down and regroup. She repeated over-and-over, “if you need time, take time.”

Keberle and Grambeau fought back and evened things up 6-6 before losing 7-5 in the tiebreak, handing the doubles point to the Buckeyes. OSU quickly took a 3-0 lead, with Sneed beating Rompf 6-0, 6-0 and Sanford defeating Keberle 6-3, 6-4. But, what looked to be a sure Ohio State blowout quickly turned into a comeback, with Wisconsin gaining all the momentum in the last four singles matches.

Pick got the Badgers on the board, taking down Tyrina 6-2 6-4. Castellano followed Pick’s lead by upsetting 97th ranked Fukuda. Castellano ended a first set tiebreak with a strong backhand before winning the second set 6-2, winning by a score of 7-6, 6-2.

Down 3-2, all attention focused on courts 10 and 11, where Linden and Grambeau fought to keep the Badgers alive.

Linden showed her toughness by bouncing back from a rough 6-1 first set to take the lead in the second set. Up 5-4 in the second set, Linden and Hurley were embroiled in a duece when the official missed a clear double bounce and called a controversial Linden forehand out of bounds, which sure appeared to be inside the lines. McKenna stormed onto the court to question the official, and the fans lets her know how they felt. But it proved to make no difference. Linden should’ve taken the second set 6-4, but the two missed calls led to a tiebreak, where Linden fell 7-6.

On the other side, Grambeau fell in her final home match to Wolf by a score of 7-6, 6-3, securing the 5-2 victory for the Buckeyes.

Before Badger fans said goodbye to Grambeau, there was plenty of praise for her contributions in Madison.

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“We’ve had the pleasure of coaching Kelsey for two years and in those 2 years, it’s been awesome to see her grow as both a person and a tennis player,” McKenna said. “We’re really grateful for the time, the work and the energy she’s put into Wisconsin tennis and Wisconsin athletics in general.”

In return, Grambeau had high praise for her teammates.

“Each time I step out there I know the people beside me are going to bring me up, we’re going to fight together and try and get it done,” Grambeau told

The Badgers will go on the road for their final four matches, where McKenna hopes they fight every moment they are on the court.

“Looking at each match as a brand new opportunity where we take it point by point will be huge,” McKenna said. “We need to make sure our mindset is one of ‘every single ball is important’ versus not playing every point like it’s the last.”

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