After a 3-1 start to the season, Ashland University women's tennis has fallen in six straight matches.
The Eagles are down, but they are not out.
"We look at our rough patch as an opportunity to learn and grow as a team and players," Ashland head coach Lexi Bolesky said. "Our match Sunday (Oct. 15), although it did not fall in our favor, was a big highlight."
AU lost to Ferris State, 7-2, its best showing against the Bulldogs since they beat the Eagles, 5-4, on Oct. 12, 2013.
The Eagles (3-7 overall, 1-7 GLIAC) sit in 10th place in the conference with matches against Purdue Northwest (5-7, 0-7) on Friday (Oct. 20) and Davenport (1-6, 1-6) on Saturday (Oct. 21). Everyone in the conference plays 10 regular-season matches, and eight teams make the postseason.
Ashland hasn't made the GLIAC tournament since 2013. But sophomore Allison Brooks, the team's leader in singles wins, is prepared to give it a go this season.
"We're mentally aware of how important these two matches are," she said. "We're inspired to work our hardest this week at practice in hopes of making the postseason, which is something I have yet to experience."
AU sits one win behind eighth-place Lake Superior State (3-8, 2-7), and is one loss behind the ninth-place Panthers. The Lakers, whom the Eagles hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against, are slated to play Michigan Tech (6-5, 4-5) on Saturday. DU faces the Eagles, Wayne State (6-2, 6-2) on Friday and Tiffin (5-4, 4-4) on Sunday (Oct. 22).
"We are playing high-quality tennis at the moment," Bolesky said. "Having the opportunity to compete in postseason would be a huge accomplishment for our team."
The 2017 GLIAC Tournament will take place at the Greater Midland Tennis Center in Midland, Mich., from Oct. 27-29.