Tennis teams thrive in new season


Amalin Sorajja ’23 reaches out to hit a forehand. Photo courtesy of Macalester Athletics.

Noah Riccardi, Sports Editor

Coming off a 5-12 (2-8) season, women’s tennis came out of the gates firing on all cylinders in the new spring season. 

Starting auspiciously, the Scots diced up the University of Wisconsin-Superior, 9-0, before taking down their first MIAC opponent in the College of Saint Scholastica, 6-3. The Scots dusted off four more opponents to go into the first part of season a perfect 6-0, including more MIAC foes in Saint Catherine University, in the Cobbers of Concordia College (Minn.), who the Scots made quick work of, 7-2 and 8-1, respectively. 

The Scots’ run was highlighted by Amanye Reynolds ’23, who earned MIAC women’s tennis athlete of the week recognition for her role in the 9-0 sweep of UW-Superior, and by Elizabeth Trevathan ’26, who personally went 12-0 across the stretch, playing both doubles and singles in each match and winning every contest she took part in. 

Talking about the team’s attitude during the exhilarating stretch, Trevathan noted the success but also emphasized the levelheadedness of the team. 

“It was a lot of fun; I don’t think anyone expected it,” Trevathan said. “There was [also] never really any talk of needing to keep the win streak going. There was actually more talk from our coach of ‘we know we’re going to lose at some point,’ that keeping the win streak isn’t necessarily the only goal we have. Playing hard is what connected all of us, and the rewards came from that.” 

A key through line for the women’s team has been the contribution of first-years. There are five new players on the team this season, and they have been contributing in spades, adding tremendous talent and depth to the roster and helping push the team to new heights. 

Head Coach Ted Lauer wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly: “They bring a high dose of positive energy, have tremendous work ethics, and are winning points in the lineup. These traits have made their transition to college tennis really smooth.”

On the men’s side, the Scots, looking to build on an 11-7 (7-2) showing in the previous season where they reached the semifinals of the MIAC playoffs, went 4-2 down the opening span of games, but took care of both MIAC opponents in Scholastica and Concordia, remaining undefeated in conference play. 

Coming out of a somewhat uncertain period at the beginning of the fall season because of an ongoing coaching search, and later, when Lauer was at first named interim before being made permanent head coach. With many juniors studying away in the fall and only returning for the spring, the wins in the spring helped to bring the team together, but so did the solid team culture that builds not just competitiveness, but also team unity, work ethic and drive. 

Lauer emphasized this side of the team in response to a question about the team’s preseason goal, writing “we want[ed] to establish some really healthy and effective practice habits that would translate to our matches. For example, we emphasized having a really focused, efficient, and competitive initial 25-30 minutes of practice.”

“Things got smoothed out pretty well, pretty quickly,” Liam Lynch ’25, a member of the men’s team, said.  “There was still a little hesitation with [Lauer still being ‘interim’ head coach at the time], but I think everyone, seeing how much of a marked step up he was in quality and how well he interacted with the team and was able to organize everything, and how good he is at his job, I don’t think there was that much uncertainty that he’d remain with the team.” 

“I think this season started off a little strange because we didn’t have a coach for the first few weeks of the fall season . . . at the very beginning of the season our goal was to just play tennis and do the best that we could because we didn’t have a coach and we didn’t have a leader; [our aim was] mainly just to form a group that was close and connected,” Trevathan said. “We had a lot of juniors that were in other countries doing programs abroad, so it was definitely an odd start to the fall season, but the main goal was to play tennis, have fun and train hard.”

After the first phase of the season, the teams traveled together to Orlando, Fla. for the typical tennis spring break trip to face competition from around the US. The trip brought stiff competition and team bonding, and it brought diversion from the typical flow of the season, and, yes, from the chilly Minnesota March weather.

“The spring break trip was a lot of fun … It being my first spring break trip, and never playing these teams before, and never even hearing any of their names before, I had no idea what to expect from my opponents,” Trevathan said. “It was a lot of fun to play those schools because they were more challenging matches, and for me it was a lot of fun to challenge myself, and I think a lot of other people on the team would agree with that … and also obviously we were in Florida, so that was a lot of fun.”

Both teams fell to very strong sides in Franklin and Marshall College’s teams in what proved to be the toughest matchup of the season for both the men’s and women’s squads. In the next match, both teams swept Ohio Wesleyan University off the court, each earning a 9-0 win in dominant fashion. The Scots faced some more strong opposition in the form of North Central College, with the men’s team losing 1-8 and the women’s team falling 2-7. 

Amalin Sorajja ’23 took two points for the women against the cardinals, winning on doubles alongside Reynolds, and paired that win with a gritty three set victory on singles. For the men, the win came from Jordan Doi ’25, who also brought his match into three sets, where he won a ten point superset tiebreak to carry the match, his first tiebreaker win of the year.

The Franklin and Marshall match, at least on the men’s side, had been a sporting and also a mental test for the Scots, but they bounced back. “[After the Franklin and Marshall match], we found ways to channel both more energy and the right energy into our matches … our next match, we came back and swept a team that was not great but was better than some teams in our conference, which felt really good,” Lynch said. “[North Central] were a really good team and it was a tough matchup, and even though we lost 8-1, it still felt like more people brought energy to the match, and it felt like the team was starting to click; I played a lot better in my singles match than I had previously, and I know it was the same for a lot of people.”

On March 17, the Scots faced off against Ohio Northern University in what turned out to be a match that defined the spring trip. The men grabbed a 6-3 win thanks to double victories from Matthew Sullivan ’23 and Anton Korolev ’23, from a clean sweep of all three doubles contests, and from a determined display from Lucas Wood ’25, who emerged on top from a match that needed three tiebreaks to decide.

“Our final match of the season was definitely our most impressive team performance on the men’s side,” Lynch said. “It was a team we weren’t supposed to beat, and we came out with a 6-3 victory, including winning all three doubles points which is something we’ve been struggling with this year, so that was a great way to cap off our spring break trip, tennis-wise.”

The women’s team fell to the Polar Bears 4-5, but fought unrelentingly and with character, embodying the team’s values; on five occasions out of six matches in singles play, a Scot lost their first set, and then battled back to win the second set and force a third set 10-point tiebreak. In three of those matches, the Macalester player took the third set and the point for the team.

For the men, the next test is a March 25 clash with Gustavus Adolphus College, the toughest of customers in the reigning MIAC regular season and playoff champions. Nevertheless, Lauer keeps a level head, writing “our expectations and preparation remains the same — we are striving to play tough tennis, to push ourselves, and to compete at a high level.” 

On the women’s side, the Scots face a seven-game stretch of conference opponents where they expect to improve on their results from past seasons. They’ll play Saint Mary’s University (Minn.) on April 1, with a shot to rewrite last year’s loss to the Cardinals.  

“I’m really excited for the rest of the season, because we haven’t played most of our conference matches yet,” Trevathan said. “I’m really excited to see what we as a team can do, because I think that we’re only getting better, and I think it’s going to be really cool for some of the returning players to beat some of the schools that they haven’t beaten before. I remember how excited everyone was when we beat St. Kate’s because we didn’t beat them last year. I think the rest of the season is going to be very exciting and it’s only going to build up our confidence more. We’re going to lose some of course at some point — we already lost over spring break — my main goal for the rest of the season is to see how we can do and how close we get as a team.”

“Team culture under our new coach also feels like a marked improvement over our old coach; it definitely feels more like an actual team,” Lynch said.

These Scots defy expectations and narratives. Playing great tennis — and they do play great tennis — is only part of the story. The team thrives from a particular emphasis, not just on winning and competing, but on improvement, growth and team togetherness. Under a new coach, in a new season, it’s served them well.