OMAHA, Neb. – Two of the top teams in the GPAC played a hotly contested match that came down to a third set at No. 5 singles. Bulldog Ansley Gates outlasted her opponent and clinched the victory with a highlight worthy finishing point. When the dust settled, the Concordia University Women’s Tennis team squeaked by College of Saint Mary, 4-3, in a contest played at Koch Family Tennis Center in Omaha, Neb., on Monday (April 12).
Head Coach David DeSimone’s squad remains unbeaten in the GPAC at 4-0 (7-5 overall). The Bulldogs also dominated Mount Marty, 7-0, this past Saturday.
“Our women played well today overall,” DeSimone said. “Starting off with the doubles point was huge for us. We played impressive and smart doubles, especially at 1 and 3. Claudia (Miranda Viera) started us off with a win at 2 and then Luisa (Esquivel) won at 6. The highlight of the day came when the team score was 3-3 and Ansley Gates won the second set to force a third. She played a smart third set and hit an awesome backhand down the line on match point. It was a good win for us to remain undefeated in the GPAC and show some toughness and grit.”
A Lincoln Southwest graduate, Gates dropped the first set, 6-0, while up against Jaclyn Negrete. Gates rebounded to win, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3, in dramatic fashion. This may have been Concordia’s most significant win of the season considering the Flames (5-3, 1-2 GPAC) entered April ranked as the second best team in the GPAC. Their only other conference defeat was handed to them by conference favorite Doane.
The Bulldogs gained the advantage in doubles thanks to the efforts of Miranda Viera and Sofia Morales at No. 1 and Esquivel and Kaitlin Seja at No. 3. Miranda Viera and Morales paired up on a 6-0 victory while Esquivel and Seja combined for a 6-3 win.
The two sides split the six singles matches. Concordia kept hopes of a team win alive with Miranda Viera (6-4, 6-1) and Esquivel (6-4, 6-2) winning at the Nos. 2 and 6 positions, respectively. The Flames triumphed at the Nos. 1, 3 and 4 spots in the lineup. That put all eyes on Gates and Negrete.
Three matches remain on the GPAC regular season slate. The Bulldogs will journey to Orange City, Iowa, on Saturday and take on Northwestern (1-10, 0-3 GPAC) in women’s and men’s doubleheader. When two programs last met on the women’s side (2019), Concordia rolled to a 9-0 win.