Unbeaten conference run ended by Doane

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 20, 2021 in Women's Tennis

SEWARD, Neb. – Tuesday’s rivalry clash between Concordia University Women’s Tennis and Doane carried major GPAC championship implications. The visiting Tigers ended the Bulldogs’ bid for a perfect GPAC regular season by claiming a 6-1 win in Seward on Tuesday (April 20). Concordia never recovered after dropping the doubles point on a chilly, but relatively wind free evening.

Head Coach David DeSimone’s squad missed out on a chance to clinch at least a share of the GPAC regular season title. At 5-1 in conference play (8-6 overall), the Bulldogs still sit atop the league standings with Doane (4-1), Morningside (4-1) and Midland (3-1) still in the running.

“Doane’s a good team – there are a lot of good things that we can take away,” DeSimone said. “It just comes down to execution. We did a lot of the little things well in setting up points and setting up games, but executing when it really matters most is what we need to do.”

Prior to the start of the match, Concordia honored a trio of seniors in Ansley Gates (Lincoln, Neb.), Claudia Miranda Viera (Madrid, Spain) and Katie Seja (Loveland, Colo.). All three were members of the 2019 squad that owns the program record for wins in a season and advanced to the GPAC tournament championship match. Each of the seniors were also part of Tuesday’s lineup. Seja prevented the Bulldogs from being shut out by earning a 6-3, 6-3, victory at No. 6 singles.

An entertaining battle took place at No. 1 singles, where Concordia’s Sofia Morales battled Amber Weston. Weston managed to outlast Morales, 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-8) in a super tiebreaker. Morales had gained an 8-6 lead in the tiebreaker before Weston rattled off four-straight points to finish the decision. Morales had hoped to put together a perfect night after she had combined with Miranda Viera on a 6-0 victory at No. 1 doubles.

The remainder of the singles lineup included Miranda Viera at No. 2, Tara Ferrel at No. 3, Katy Krejci at No. 4 and Gates at No. 5. After surrendering the doubles point, the Bulldogs were faced with the tall task of needing to triumph in four singles matches in order to take the team win. Despite coming up short of that aim, DeSimone is proud of his team for putting itself in position to play meaningful matches down the stretch of the season.

Said DeSimone, “It’s been a great start to our conference slate. We knew at the beginning of the season that Doane was going to be a top team along with us and Morningside and College of Saint Mary. There are a lot of good teams at the top of our conference. To come into this match at 5-0 is right where we want to be. Losing today was tough, but we’re still in a good spot.”

Concordia will finish the regular season next Tuesday (April 27) when it plays at Midland (5-6, 3-1 GPAC). First serve is set for 4 p.m. CT in Fremont, Neb. A Bulldog win would lock up at least a share of the GPAC regular season title.