Howard making most of her senior season

By Kendrick Jackson, Contributing Writer

Lauren Howard and the Hilltopper womenʼs tennis team are composing a remarkable season.

This is Howard’s senior year at West Liberty University, and while she is pursuing a business degree, she is also pursuing a Mountain East Conference championship.

Howard, originally from Lee-On-Solent, England, is compiling a very good career here at West Liberty. Howard has received two MEC Player of the Week Awards, the latest coming on October 7, 2014, for her play against Charleston and Shepherd. At Charleston, Howard was victorious during her No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles matches, and at Shepherd, Howard retained success with victories during her No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles matches.

Howard has relished her individual success, but the team’s success has mattered more to her. “I’m happy. It’s certainly nice to be recognized for your individual achievements, but for me, the biggest reward will be if we can pull off the win at the conference tournament this week. There’s no better feeling than celebrating a success with the your teammates.”

Coach Heather Gallagher and the Lady Hilltoppers have registered a (9-1, 6-1) record, with their only loss coming to West Virginia State University. During the contest, Howard defeated Brittany Franco during her No. 1 singles match, but lost in her No. 1 doubles match. “Individually, I think I’ve had a good run this season, and as a team, we’ve all worked hard and had a great season again with our only loss coming to West Virginia State,” Howard said.

Despite the success this season, Howard has faced some hardships. “I’ve had a slight ankle injury to deal with, but I’m pleased it didn’t hold me back, and I’ve managed to get some good wins on the board in my senior year, which I have hoped for,” Howard said.

The Lady Hilltoppers aim to continue their successful season at the MEC Tournament this upcoming weekend. “Moving forward, I think we can be fairly positive. The tournament will be a big challenge for us, but we are hoping we can make it to the finals again, and avenge our regular season loss to State. “This team can be as good as it wants to be. I’m confident we will end up fairly high in the regional rankings, and hopefully, be nationally ranked again this year after the season we’ve had,” Howard said.

Howard and the team will compete in the MEC Tournament this weekend in Charleston with the quarterfinals beginning tomorrow. Be sure to log on to westliberty.edu/thetrumpet for updates.

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