Cooke commandeers IIAC B-Flight

Spanning the weekend of Oct. 13 and 14, the women’s tennis team competed at the IIAC Individual Tournament. It was a strong showing by the entire Loras team, but junior Emma Cooke shined brightest, earning first place for Loras as the B-Flight Singles Champion.

(Photo courtesy of Loras College Athletics) Junior Emma Cooke poses with IIAC banner after she wins the B-Flight Singles championship.

“Emma had a good tournament,” said tennis coach Chad Fenwick. “She saved her best for last, beating some really good players. She really controlled the matches she played and used her experience really well.”

As runner-up in last year’s competition, the Duhawks went into the tournament with high energy.  A change in venue due to weather conditions didn’t go without effect. Cooke took down her opponents from Buena Vista and Wartburg, 8-0 and 8-3, respectively, before taking down Simpson’s Megan Bradley in dominating fashion, 6-0, 6-1, for the title.

“It was a difficult tournament because the weather was so bad,” said Fenwick. “It had rained all weekend, which meant a lot of hours indoors, a lot of waiting around.”

With the original match set for a 16-court complex in Waterloo, IA, moving to an indoor facility with only six courts was less than ideal.

“We had a lot of excitement going into the tournament. We’d been playing pretty well, and the weather kind of killed our momentum a little,” said Fenwick. “We had players, though, that played really well.”

The Duhawk duos of Cooke and first-year Bri Eighme and first-years Franny Roche and Erin McGivern advanced to the quarterfinals. Senior Rachel Molidor also gave her opponent a run for her money, offering Luther’s Erin Halverson her closest competition in the tournament. Halverson escaped with a narrow victory, 9-7.

“We were one of the last teams there,” Fenwick said. “One of our goals is to be the last team standing; that means you had a good tournament, and we ultimately had kids there on the last day, while there were several teams that weren’t there on day two. For us to still have kids playing on the second day was good. It’s what we shoot for.”

Following the IIAC Individual Tournament, first-year Audrey Hinz was named the only first-year on the IIAC All-Conference Team who went 7-4 at No. 1 singles in the fall.

Overall, the women finished 8-4 (4-4 in conference) for the fall season. This qualifies them for IIAC team tournament in the spring.  The Duhawks will go into the tournament as the No. 5 seed playing Wartburg. Having played the Knights really close in the fall, the match should be a competitive one.

“We had a pretty good fall that allowed our players to get some match experience,” said Fenwick. “Our first-years are developing, and we’re growing into the lineup.”

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