Second PAC championship sweeter for Santa
College Football Videos
The repeat is sweet for Heather Santa.
Westminster College's women's tennis team captured its second straight Presidents' Athletic Conference team championship in October. Santa, a Butler High School product, earned her second straight individual title as well.
However, the Titans senior believes this year's accomplishments are better because Westminster won the title outright after sharing it with St. Vincent last year.
“Last year, we were co-champs, so it was kind of bittersweet,” Santa said. “This year, especially since I was able to win and bring points to help our team win it again, it felt even better.”
This season, the Titans claimed four singles flight championships and one doubles flight title to finish with 54 team points. They edged second-place Grove City by just six points for the crown. In addition, it earned Westminster the PAC's automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championship, scheduled for May 19-24.
Even though they tied for the team championship last year, the Titans missed out on the NCAA Tournament berth because St. Vincent had a head-to-head victory over Westminster.
“Whenever we first started the season, we wanted to win really bad,” Santa said. “To do it again, especially with the team having three new freshmen (come into the lineup), that's outstanding.
“The returning players, like Caitie (Hosler) and Lauren (Fling) and I, we knew what we'd have to do to step up and keep the rest of the team strong again this season. We plugged in some new freshmen and we showed them how intense the matches would be, especially against two of our biggest rivals in Grove City and St. Vincent. It worked out pretty well.”
Santa finished with a 13-1 singles record this year and cruised to her second straight PAC title at No. 4 singles in straight sets (6-0, 6-0) over Geneva's Christine Bullock, who was seeded fifth. Bullock upset Thomas More's Anna Heltzer, the top seed and the only person to defeat Santa this fall. Santa did not lose a game against her three opponents.
“I was pretty determined to win again,” Santa said. “It was kind of sad not getting a chance to play the girl I lost to earlier in the year. I knew that, during the season, I could have beaten her. I wanted to beat someone I lost to because it would have made the title so much greater. But I was happy to win. During all my matches at the PAC tournament, I was so motivated. All my friends said that was the best I had played all season. I was really determined to do my best and win and get points for my team.”
Santa and Fling teamed up to finish second at No. 2 doubles for the third year in a row. The Westminster duo fell to Grove City's Kendra Tetrick and Linnea Peters, 8-4, in the championship.
“Grove City had a really strong team. I feel one girl who was struggling earlier in the year really progressed,” Santa said. “Grove City has been our toughest competition since Lauren and I first started playing doubles, so we knew it was going to be a difficult match. We can't be disappointed because we played well and had a good season and Grove City is a good team.”
Santa, who has a 39-7 career singles record and a 37-13 doubles mark at Westminster, and her teammates are off until their annual spring break trip to Hilton Head, S.C., where they'll play three matches in March before preparing for the NCAA Tournament.
“It's fun to see how good other D-III schools are,” said Santa, a neuroscience major. “Everyone will be competing. It's a good way to end my career. I am looking forward to it, but it's still sort of sad.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- District college notebook: IUP senior nets 1,000th career point
- Two-sport Union grad Thomas seeks All-America status at Westminster
- Gateway alums make PAC Honor Roll
- Jeannette’s Crawford twins finding basketball success with WCCC
- IUP men, women remain among Division II basketball elite
- Campus Clippings: Alle-Kiski swimmers shine at Edinboro
- Unselfish play helps St. Vincent women to special season
- Mathers shines for St. Vincent women’s basketball team
- Local roundup: PSNK men’s basketball team loses to PSU York
- District college notes: Latrobe grad sets record at Virginia Tech
- Gateway grad Nosbisch earns PAC, region honors for pool efforts