Women’s tennis season ends in NCAA first round
Women’s tennis ended its season after one round into the NCAA Championship. The team fell to Southeastern Oklahoma State 5-0, Monday.
The team won its seventh consecutive NSIC Tournament title and the eighth straight NSIC regular season title by defeating Winona State. They improved 16-5 on the season and advanced their NSIC tournament winning streak to 19 straight matches.
“It was a good season,” head coach Marc Kurtz said. “It was a little challenging at first, and we graduated a couple of our leaders from last year. Picking up four freshmen to join in on the team makes for an interesting start for the year, but we slowly worked on our chemistry and slowly introduced the freshman to the team and how we do things. But it worked out well.”
One freshman, Taylor Jackson, had a breakout year, ending the regular season 13-5 in singles play and playing primarily at number two all year.
“Coming in as a freshman I wasn’t quite sure what to expect,” Jackson said. “But I’m glad that I have been able to contribute to the team. There’s always room for me to improve, and working on those things will help take my game to the next level.”
They Vikings entered the NCAA Championships as the seventh seed in the Central Region. Although they practiced hard, but they couldn’t pull any upsets.
“Regionals are always pretty stressful,” Kurtz said. “There’s a lot of pressure and a lot stress in those matches. If you win you keep playing, and if you lose you go home. So there’s always a lot of pressure there.”
No stranger to the stress of the game, sophomore Kornelia Staniszewska said the team did as well as it could have.
“We gave our best effort for sure,” Staniszewska said. “We were partially at a disadvantage because we haven’t gotten to practice outside much before regionals, and playing inside versus outside is a huge difference. Overall it was great season. We had a lot of new experiences, which we will use in the future.”
Staniszewska ended the season number one in singles, with a 13-0 record going into the championship tournament. She also holds the number one spot in doubles with partner Berkley Darr, a junior.
Going into the championships Staniszewska believed the team would have a challenge ahead of itsince Oklahoma was seeded number two. Still, she was optimistic.
“I’m really happy,” Staniszewska said. “[Going to the championships] shows how good of a team we are. We work hard every single day, on every practice or match. It’s my second year on this team and to be honest, I couldn’t think of [better] coaches or teammates. We are like family and I think this is a huge thing that helps us to be as good as we are.”
The Vikings lose just two seniors, Chritine Olivo and Meredith Lawrence, and are positioned well to make another postseason run next year.