Women’s tennis set for conference after strong wins




The women’s tennis team keeps on rolling into the postseason.

The Vikings won their fourth straight regular-season NSIC title last weekend against Nebraska-Kearney, winning 6-1 to close out the regular season at 12-0.

Junior Katie Jesperson, ranked ninth, beat No. 2 ranked Vanessa Gunawan in straight sets for singles, 6-4, 6-2. Freshman Jessa Richards won 6-2, 6-1 against UNK’s Kristin Weems. Seniors Michelle Wadas and Hannah Gebauer also had strong wins to help the Vikings remain undefeated in the central region.

“Hard work and dedication usually leads to good results, and we’ve been fortunate to have those results so far this season,” head coach Marc Kurtz said.

Since Kurtz has been head coach and started recruiting at Augustana, the women’s tennis team has gone 78-11 in the past four seasons.

“It was great to win our fourth straight,” Kurtz said. “Especially for our seniors who have ended up winning the regular-season title every year.”

One of those seniors is co-captain Michelle Wadas, who is 16-3 in singles and 17-4 in doubles on the year. In her last year, Wadas wants to make the season count.

“I think for Hannah [Gebauer], Gabbie [Kachena] and myself we know it’s our last year,” Wadas said. “So we really want to try as hard as we can. It has been tough staying focused because it is our last year, but we don’t want to let anyone else down and keep our streak going.”

Kurtz also shared how the seniors have been good role models for the younger women on the team.

“I love that [the seniors] come to work hard at practice every day,” Kurtz said. “It shows the younger players what it takes to keep moving forward on our team.”

Many credit Kurtz’s coaching ability for the recent success in the women’s tennis program at Augustana.

“Marc has definitely pushed us harder than in the past,” Wadas said. “But that is because this time is different, our expectations are higher because of what we have done already.”

With the regular season over, and with a 12-0 record in conference play, the Vikings are ranked No. 1 going into the NSIC tournament this upcoming weekend in Minnetonka, Minn. Their opponent is TBA, but for Kurtz, it doesn’t matter who they play, the game plan will be the same.

“We are just taking it one match at a time right now,” Kurtz said. “And really focusing on playing our game and our style in each match regardless of who our opponent is.”

Wadas agrees, and said how the seniors have high goals for their last season.

“We really want to get to Nationals this year,” Wadas said. “Everyone wants to keep going, and I think Marc wants us to as well.”