SEWARD, Neb. – Eleventh-ranked Bethany College backed up its lofty national ranking with a workmanlike 9-0 victory over the Concordia University men’s tennis team in the Walz Fieldhouse on Friday evening. The loss was the first in two outings this season for the Bulldogs (1-1).
While Concordia failed to win a match, graduate assistant coach James Ingrahm saw plenty of encouraging signs up against the top-rated school in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
“The score says we got destroyed, but what the score doesn’t say is how hard we fought and how much we improved both individually and collectively,” Ingrahm said.
“Bethany is a team that is always ranked very high nationally. I like playing them because it makes our boys rise to the occasion and play tough. It makes us see the level we need to be at.”
The most competitive matches came at the top. Concordia senior Nathan Wingfield went toe-to-toe with Laurentsi Arakhamiya, the 41st-ranked singles player in the NAIA. Arakhamiya triumped 6-4, 6-3 despite a strong push from the Bulldogs’ No. 1 singles performer.
Wingfield also teamed with fellow senior Joel Kaldahl in giving Amir Rahbar and Mensford Owusu a tussle at No. 1 doubles. Wingfield and Kaldahl fell by a narrow 8-6 decision.
Friday offered the first opportunity for freshmen Patricio Esquivel, Javier Moreno and Philip Yox to showcase their talents in a home match. All three were instrumental in Concordia’s season-opening victory over Simpson College on Sunday.
Moreno flashed a wicked forehand on several occasions against Rahbar. The rookie from Morelia, Mexico, took two games in both sets from the victorious Rahbar.
Concordia may have met a superior foe on Friday, but there were moments of brilliance in an otherwise dominant win for the Swedes.
“(Bethany head coach) Vic (Bateman) commented on how much stronger the team looks this year,” Ingrahm said. “It shows that we are doing the right things in practice.”
The Bulldogs will quickly turn around and face Tabor College of Kansas on Saturday in a men’s and women’s doubleheader. The men get it started at 10 a.m. with the women to get going at approximately 12:30 p.m. All of the action will again take place inside the Walz Fieldhouse.