SEWARD, Neb. – The weekend of marathon tennis action in the Walz Fieldhouse continued Saturday morning and went late into the afternoon as both Concordia men’s and women’s squads notched exciting wins over visiting Tabor College. The Bulldogs also hosted a doubleheader with Kansas Wesleyan the night before and showed off their endurance after the quick turnaround.
“Our players attacked the morning start well,” head coach Amy Harms said.
The Concordia women got things started with first serve at 10 a.m. Just like Friday, they found themselves down 2-1 after doubles play as the Bluejays captured wins at Nos. 1 and 3. However, the Bulldogs got impressive outings from underclassmen in freshman Chelsea Haack and sophomore Grace Hollenbeck. The pair cruised to an 8-0 victory at No. 2 doubles to power the 6-3 team win.
“Chelsea did a really good job of putting those balls across court,” Hollenbeck said. “That made my job at the net a lot easier, just splitting them with that volley. We worked well as a team today.”
Hollenbeck had to sweat it out much more in her match at No. 4 singles, where she prevailed, 6-4, 2-6, 10-5.
“It was just kind of going back to the basics,” Hollenbeck said. “I won that last set by focusing on what I did in the first set to win it. I tried to be aggressive and come in at the net while trying to really focus on playing smart and getting the ball where I needed to, to win the point.”
The Concordia women dominated singles with victories at Nos. 1 through 4 and 6 to shake off the deficit after doubles. Sophomore Elyse Kohl went to a tiebreaker in the third set before winning 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 over Katie Becker. The Bulldogs’ No. 1, Kately Koll, also won a three-set match.
“There some struggles in singles but the highlight was Grace pulling out her third-set tiebreak,” Harms said. “She got a little bit tired, a little fatigued, started to lose some points but really fought back to get the win, which was big.”
Concordia’s men then completed the doubleheader sweep with a tight 5-4 victory over Tabor. Like the women, the Bulldog men fell behind 2-1 after doubles but recovered to win four singles matches to eke out the team victory.
Junior Joel Kaldahl came up big with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-7 win at No. 4 singles over Nathan Pantajja.
“Fresh in my mind is obviously Joel Kaldahl’s win. That was pretty big to get us the team victory,” Harms said. “His third-set tiebreak, he just found a way to win. He started playing really well to end of the match, which was awesome to see. I’m really proud of his fight.”
Senior Cole Egger also closed a solid weekend with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph at No. 2 singles. The Galva, Iowa, native now sits at 2-2 in both singles and doubles on the season.
“It was a lot of just keeping the ball in play,” Egger said. “I knew after a certain time he would probably make errors, but I still had to be strong in my play and know that I could pull it off in the end. So I was just able to execute and keep it in play.”
Concordia’s Nathan Wingfield notched a win at No. 1 singles when his opponent had to disqualify himself in the second set due to injury. Other victories for the Bulldogs came at No. 5 singles (Jonathan Douglas) and No. 3 doubles (Douglas and Joe Vanderveld).
The Bulldog men and women now enjoy a break of almost three weeks before returning to action March 22 with two matches each against Kansas Wesleyan University and Bethany College (Kan.). Those contests will take place in Salina, Kan.