FREMONT, Neb. – A memorable 2021 season was halted on Friday (April 30) in the GPAC semifinals. Tri-champions of the GPAC regular season, the Concordia University Women’s Tennis team was on the short end of a 4-0 decision while up against Morningside in the postseason in Fremont, Neb., on Friday (April 30). Earlier in the day, the third-seeded Bulldogs got past Hastings, 4-0, in the quarterfinal round.
Head Coach David DeSimone led the women’s team to a 6-1 conference regular season mark and a share of the GPAC title – the first in the history of the program. The result on Friday afternoon won’t change that fact.
“Morningside came out on fire and played excellent doubles,” DeSimone said. “We competed and battled well to hang in at 2 and 3, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. It was unfortunately the same for singles too. Many close points, matches and games, but we were just lacking that extra little bit to take the advantage.”
The Mustangs (12-5) exacted their revenge for a 4-3 defeat in Seward back on March 27. Red hot Morningside ran its win streak to eight with its victories coming at Nos. 3, 4 and 5 singles and at the 2 and 3 doubles positions. A successful combo at No. 1 doubles, Concordia’s Sofia Morales and Claudia Miranda Viera held a 5-4 lead when the doubles point was clinched for the Mustangs, who will take on top-seeded Doane in Saturday’s championship match.
In the quarterfinal that began in the morning on Friday, the Bulldogs took care of business with victories at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles thanks to the work of Tara Ferrel and Ansley Gates and Luisa Esquivel and Kaitlin Seja. Concordia proceeded to win at the top three spots in the singles lineup – Morales at No. 1 (6-3, 6-2), Miranda Viera at No. 2 (6-3, 7-6) and Ferrel at No. 3 (6-1, 6-2).
Said DeSimone, “We played solid throughout doubles and singles and didn’t beat ourselves. We gave ourselves chances and at that point, it came down to execution. That was right where we wanted to be and we were excited with the end result as a team.”
The last time the GPAC tournament was held (2019), Concordia advanced to the GPAC tournament final and was narrowly beaten by Hastings. Excluding 2020 (which was not completed due to COVID-19), the Bulldogs have set new standards in back-to-back full campaigns. The 15 wins in 2019 were an overall school single season record. The program had also never won a conference title, although it placed second in the regular season in 2007 and 2009. The dream of advancing to the national tournament for the first time ever will have to be put off until at least 2022.