FREMONT, Neb. – While reaching the GPAC tournament championship match, the 2021 Concordia University Men’s Tennis team broke new ground for the program. Unfortunately, its bid for a conference championship was denied by Midland in Saturday (May 1) morning’s title clash at the Fremont, Neb., YMCA. The Warriors won by a final score of 4-0.
As the No. 2 seed in the bracket, Head Coach David DeSimone’s squad reached the GPAC final with the help of a bye in the quarterfinals and then a 4-2 victory over Doane in the semifinals. The Bulldogs closed the season with a 10-6 overall mark.
“We had some tight matches today but not quite enough,” DeSimone said. “Midland came out to play today. Congrats to their players. We battled and competed well. Gregor (Lainer) played an excellent match against a great player, which gave a few of the other players some bursts of energy. We knew going in that this would be a tough match and we would need to bring our best stuff, and there were moments of that but we couldn’t sustain it.”
The experience playing all season at the No. 1 singles spot should bode well in the future for Lainer, who hung right with Miguel Abete (6-4, 3-4) in a clash that went unfinished due to the team outcome being decided. Lainer and Eduardo Rojas were also in a close competition at No. 1 doubles (trailed 5-4) when that match was called.
In addition to Lainer at No. 1, the Concordia singles lineup included Jeremiah Berryman at No. 2, Luke Zoller at No. 3, Eduardo Rojas at No. 4, Isaac Howes at No. 5 and Joe Bindl at No. 6. The No. 6 singles match had just barely gotten underway when the Warriors clinched the team win.
As the GPAC tournament champion, Midland (15-5) garnered an automatic bid to the national tournament that will be held in Mobile, Ala., May 18-22. The Warriors rolled through conference regular season play at a perfect 6-0.
As part of this season’s journey, the Bulldogs began conference play with a 5-0 mark and placed second in the regular season standings. Many of the veterans on the current team helped elevate the program from a fourth-place GPAC finish in 2019. Zoller came back for a fifth season inside the program in order to help push the ’21 squad to another level.
Said DeSimone, “Overall, I’m so proud of all that our guys have accomplished this year. These guys have accomplished so much this season. We have grown together as a family and as followers of Christ, and that is most important.”