Bulldogs topple Doane, set to appear in GPAC title match for first time

By Jacob Knabel on May. 1, 2021 in Men's Tennis

FREMONT, Neb. – The Concordia University Men’s Tennis team came up short of a GPAC regular season title, but hopes are still alive of a conference postseason championship. For the first time in program history, the Bulldogs have reserved a spot in the GPAC tournament final. Second-seeded Concordia got there thanks to a 4-2 semifinal win over Doane in action that took place at Fremont High School on Friday (April 30).

Head Coach David DeSimone’s squad went 5-1 in conference regular season play and has now beaten the rival Tigers twice, both in competitive fashion.

Said DeSimone, “The match with Doane was a tight one. We were excited to take the doubles point, and all three doubles teams played smart matches. It couldn’t get much closer in singles either, with five of the six matches going to third sets. Luke Zoller played an excellent match to clinch the meet for us. I’m happy for him and for our student-athletes. We are all excited to get back on the court in the morning.”

Based on the 4-3 regular season win over Doane, Concordia expected to be pushed hard in the semifinals. The doubles combos of Jeremiah Berryman and Zoller at No. 2 (7-5) and Jack Kitson and Juan Rabellino at No. 3 (6-2) outlasted their counterparts. The No. 1 doubles match went unfinished since the Bulldogs had clinched the team point.

As alluded to by DeSimone, the margins were razor thin in singles. The only Concordia singles win that did not go to a third set was produced by Isaac Howes at No. 5, 6-3, 6-2. The rest of the clashes were white knucklers. Zoller (No. 3) and Eduardo Rojas (No. 4) delivered three-set victories to send the Bulldogs to the championship match. Doane (11-10) got its two team points from the Nos. 1 and 2 singles positions.

The 2021 Concordia squad has broken down a barrier that past editions had not breached. In the GPAC era (2000-present), the program had reached the conference tournament semifinals eight times, but always had its season ended right there. A stiff challenge is coming on Saturday morning against GPAC regular season champion Midland (14-5, 6-0 GPAC). In the matchup that took place on April 27, the Warriors took care of the Bulldogs, 7-0.

Saturday’s championship match is set to get underway at 10 a.m. CT from Fremont. The contest will be moved indoors due to the expected windy conditions. Follow @CuneTennis for updates.