Postseason ahead for women’s tennis, men end on high note
Where one season ends with high expectations for the future, another continues this weekend. High expectations? No doubt.
The Augustana men’s tennis team concluded its season last Tuesday with a 6-3 win over Morningside College, finishing the year with a 6-8 record.
But the women’s team has yet to say goodbye to the courts.
The 13-5 women (11-0 NSIC) are set to face off against the Minnesota-Duluth this Saturday in their first match of the NSIC tournament. If the Vikings defeat the Bulldogs, as they did earlier this month to clinch their eighth-straight NSIC regular season title, the women will be two wins from Nationals
It’s a prospect head coach Marc Kurtz is hoping his team is ready for after a week of rest leading up to this weekend’s matches.
“We’ve been getting healthy and ready to go,” Kurtz said. “The main thing is to do what we’re capable of doing and playing up to our ability.”
Kurtz said overall the women’s season has been successful, noting that tough competition helped the Vikings get stronger looking to the postseason.
The team’s hard work makes sophomore Kornelia Staniszewska her teammates eager to perform well in the postseason.
“I think we’re definitely better than last season,” Staniszewska said. “Now we just have to keep it going. We feel ready. We’ve worked this whole season and now we’re ready to show what we can do.”
While the women’s future is now, on the men’s future lies in looking toward next season.
With no graduating seniors and a slew of underclassmen, the team hopes to build this year’s successes and hopefully add other quality players to the roster.
Freshman Charlie Adkins said for him the season was filled with high and low points.
“We had some really cool moments,” Adkins said. “Beating South Dakota State University was definitely a good moment, but we also had some really close matches. A challenge for us is figuring out the bottom of the lineup. But we’re all really looking forward to next year.”
Kurtz also is hopeful that next year will prove promising for his young men’s team.
“Overall, I’m pleased with how their season turned out,” Kurtz said. “The team improved, and we had some tough competition. I’m excited and hopeful that these guys will put in work over the summer.”
But first, the nationals run for the women.
Freshman Taylor Jackson things the Vikings’ doubles play will push the them over the edge.
“The main thing is to focus on our doubles,” Jackson said. “Getting all three of those doubles teams’ points is really important and would make it easier for us to win in the end.”
As a freshman, Jackson said being part of the women’s tennis program’s winning tradition— 88 straight NSIC wins—is exciting for her.
And even after nine seasons coaching the women, Kurtz is just as excited, hoping this year his team will achieve its goal of a national tournament berth.
“We just need to remember to play our game our style,” he said. “It’s about executing our strategy and starting matches strong, especially with doubles. That will carry our momentum.”