Last Sunday the women’s tennis team showed why they are undefeated.
Sioux Empire Fitness hosted the Augustana double-header, where the Vikings took on Upper Iowa and then Southwest Minnesota State. The women won both matches at 9-0, 9-0 respectively.
“We came out strong against Upper Iowa with good aggressive doubles play,” head coach Marc Kurtz said. “Girls were poaching quite a bit and stayed aggressive.
The scores showed that, with the duo of Katie Jesperson and Michelle Wadas defeating Karli Loewecke and Paige Olson at one doubles with a score of 8-4.
Then Jessa Richards and Hannah Gebauer defeated Nicole Pothen and Rosangel Espinoza at second doubles with a convincing score of 8-0.
To round out the doubles, Jenna Helleberg and Heather Sullivan defeated Meredith Worrall and Laura Alvarez at third doubles with another convincing score of 8-1.
The women won all of their singles matches as well.
The Vikings have played strong, but Kurtz thinks that there are some things that the women could improve on.
“We still have to get better at doubles and our serve returns,” Kurtz said. “And in singles I would like to see us attack short balls more often and get to the net.”
The women have been putting in hours and it shows.
“The girls have been practicing six times a week,” Kurtz said. “We usually go for two hours per practice.”
A short break was utilized between matches for the women to get some food and re-charge their metabolism. Then as soon as the break was over, it was back to the courts for more action.
In the second match they showed similar courtesy.
Switching the lineup order, the Vikings had a big win.
Richards and Gebauer defeated Shelby Monahan and Crystal Overbaugh 8-3, Jesperson and Wadas defeated Katie Kienitz and Samantha Ritter 8-2 and to round out the doubles Liz Lewis and Gabrielle Kachena defeated Allison Niedert and Kayla Uphus 8-2 to sweep doubles.
In singles action against SMSU, the women were on point only dropping 12 games and ended up sweeping all of them.
This past Wednesday, Richards was named the NSIC Player of the Week for tennis. Being the only freshman on the team might be intimidating, but Richards has been welcomed on the team.
“It has been great,” Richards said. “All of the girls on the team really made me feel welcome and comfortable during my first few matches so it has been a relatively easy transition [into college-level tennis.]”
The native of Eden Prairie, Minn., has had success on the court going a perfect 6-0 so far in her matches. Since Richards had been playing in the Northern Section of the United States Tennis Association, Kurtz noticed her and ended up recruiting her for the team.
“She has always been a strong player in the [USTA] northern section,” Kurtz said. “She can hit the ball hard.
“We are working on her getting a little more variety and touch to her game to go along with the power that she already has.”
Regarding coaching, Richards had nothing but good things to say about Kurtz.
“Marc is a great coach,” Richards said. “He coaches all of us based on our own personal game style and pushes us in practice to improve every day.”
The Vikings have another double-header as their next match, at 8 and 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 23, in Duluth, Minn., against Minnesota Crookston and Minnesota Duluth.