FREMONT, Neb. – Head coach Sam Nelson’s Bulldog women’s tennis squad wrapped up a big weekend of GPAC action by defeating Northwestern (5-8, 3-3 GPAC) to clinch third place in the league standings. Saturday morning’s match in Fremont, Neb., marked a quick turnaround after Concordia defeated Hastings 6-3 on Friday evening in Seward.
“We showed some great mental fortitude and had some good comebacks,” Nelsons said. “It’s encouraging to see that our girls never count themselves out even when they’re down within a set or even a game.”
Just like Friday, the Bulldogs clinched the match quickly by winning two of three doubles battles and then by hastily taking three singles bouts. Concordia clinched the match with Chelsea Haack’s 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Jamie Koens at No. 2 singles to put the Bulldogs up 5-1.
Concordia sophomore Liz Kjellsen and senior Mikaela Barz won for the fourth-straight time at No. 3 doubles by getting by Mallory Cunard and Hannah Stark fairly comfortably, 8-??. Kjellsen also impressed Bulldog coaches with her play at No. 6 singles. The Centennial, Colo., native breezed to 6-1 triumph in the first set and then found herself down 5-0 in the second set, only to rally for a 7-5 victory by winning seven games in a row.
The Bulldogs also notched wins at singles Nos. 1, 3 and 4 and at No. 2 doubles. Doubles matches at 1 and 2 were decided by a margin of just two games as Concordia won 9-7 No. 2 and lost 8-6 at No. 1.
“It would have been nice to get the win at No. 1 doubles as well,” Nelson said. “They are our most consistent doubles team, but I don’t think they lost any confidence or anything. Sometimes a loss can serve as a wake-up call and get you focused on the things that need work on.”
Assistant coach James Ingrahm noted the play of senior Lindsea Vaudt as standing out as particularly worthy of praise. Vaudt shook off a close loss in three sets on Friday and breezed to a 6-0, 6-1 win on Saturday over Hannah Stark at No. 3. Vaudt evened up her season singles record at 8-8.
Top singles player Katelyn Koll also had to come back to earn a win over Terry Odera in the super tiebreaker. After the first two sets went 4-6, 6-2, Odera took the upper hand in the tiebreaker before Koll won five games in a row at one point and ended up winning 10-8 to run her singles mark to 8-6.
The Bulldogs have just one regular-season match remaining – Tuesday April 30 versus Doane (5-13, 1-5 GPAC) – before the conference tournament gets underway May 3-4. Concordia has clinched the No. 3 seed, meaning it will draw the No. 6 seed – either Mount Marty or Doane – in the first round of the league tournament.