SEWARD, Neb. – For the second-straight outing in conference play, Concordia University women’s tennis fell one match short of pulling out a team victory. While hosting their first outdoor match of the spring, the Bulldogs were clipped by Doane, 5-4, on Wednesday evening.
Third-year head coach Joel Reckewey’s squad also dropped a match at College of Saint Mary by a 5-4 final on Monday. Concordia now stands at 5-10 overall and at 0-2 in the GPAC.
“It’s a heartbreaking match because we know we have what it takes,” Reckewey said. “The girls battled through every match all the way to the end. It just takes a huge team effort to be able to win.”
On the bright side, junior Annie Horn kept her win streak intact. At No. 2 singles, Horn toppled Ellie Bender, 6-0, 6-2, and pushed her singles win streak to eight. The native of Denver, Colo., has not suffered a loss since late in February.
“I’ve just gone back to the basics,” Horn said. “In the fall semester I was kind of having a rough go of things. I went back to basic tennis – get the ball back over the net. It sounds silly, but it’s true. The mental game is the biggest part of tennis. I really just have to stay strong. We have a team that’s super supportive.”
Additional Bulldog singles wins were captured by Katie Hertz at No. 4 and Kayla Smock at No. 6. The Tigers (3-9, 2-0 GPAC) completed wins almost simultaneously at the Nos. 1 and 5 spots to clinch their second GPAC win of the season. At No. 5, Kirsten Wagner nearly forced a third-set tiebreaker, but was defeated, 6-1, 7-5.
Horn was also part of Concordia’s lone doubles win. She teamed up with Wagner at No. 2 for a tight, 9-8 (4), victory. The Bulldogs fell at No. 1, 8-4, and at No. 3, 8-3.
Despite Wednesday’s loss, Concordia has shown its not far off from being able to knock off some of the conference’s top teams. Monday’s defeat came at the hands of the GPAC’s No. 2-rated squad. Prior to that, the Bulldogs had won four nonconference matches in a row.
“We’ve realized that every single match matters,” Horn said. “It’s not like in doubles you can be like, ‘Oh, it’s OK, I’ll get it back in singles.’ Every point, every match matters. That’s really come together for us.”
The Bulldogs have another difficult conference test coming up on Saturday when they host Morningside (8-1) at the Bulldog Tennis Courts. First serve is set for 12 p.m. CT. The Mustangs were ranked No. 1 in the most recent official GPAC rankings released on NAIA.org.