Bulldogs bounce back with blanking of Morningside

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 30, 2019 in Women's Tennis

SEWARD, Neb. – After missing out on an opportunity to make a statement on Wednesday, the Concordia University women’s tennis team rebounded on Saturday (March 30) by dominating GPAC rival Morningside, 9-0. The Bulldogs came out with positive energy in doubles while taking the courts inside the Walz Fieldhouse. Chilly temperatures and windy conditions moved the match indoors.

Head coach David DeSimone made it a focus to come out strong in doubles after Concordia dropped two of three doubles matches in the 5-4 loss to 2018 national qualifier Hastings. The Bulldogs are now 8-4 overall (1-1 GPAC). The Mustangs slipped to 3-8 (0-1 GPAC).

“We really wanted to start off focusing on doubles today,” DeSimone said. “That was something we didn’t do last match against Hastings. We came out up 3-0 with a lot of good energy. We worked on playing higher percentage tennis in doubles and ended up with good results. Then we carried it out through singles.”

One trend continued on Saturday with Concordia being particularly dominant in the back half of the lineup. In doubles, the Nos. 2 and 3 groups, made up of sophomore Allison Marshall and junior Kirsten Wagner and sophomore Angela Bell and junior Lindee Schultz, respectively, both won by 8-2 scores. At the No. 1 spot, seniors Marlene Maier and Katelinn Wurm held off Abby Fitzgerald and Hanna Schoning, 8-5.

It was a great response to the Wednesday loss, which hurt because the Bulldogs realized how close they are to the team that won the GPAC tournament last year.

“I think we did really well after a tough loss,” Maier said. “Just getting back mentally was the big turnaround on this match. Everyone had a really good mental state and everyone got the wins.”

After having her eight-match singles win streak snapped against Hastings, Maier started what she hopes to be another extended streak. She won handily at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-0, over Fitzgerald. The rest of the team fell in line with No. 2 Claudia Miranda Viera, No. 3 Wurm, No. 4 Wagner, No. 5 Marshall and No. 6 Bell each claiming wins. Miranda Viera bounced back after dropping the first set and triumphed in a tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-2 (10-6).

With five matches to go in conference play, Concordia has reason to believe it can be a factor in the conference race. The depth of the lineup has been a strength for the Bulldogs.

“I’m happy with where we’re at right now,” DeSimone said. “The Hastings match was a good one. It was close. We played and competed pretty well on all nine courts. We have things we can improve upon, but this match shows we’re a tough team and ready to compete at a high level.”

Concordia will be back at home to host Doane (1-7, 0-0 GPAC) in a 4 p.m. CT match on Wednesday. If weather allows, the contest will be played outside on the Bulldog Tennis Courts.