The men’s and women’s tennis teams both got the chance to compete in the Iowa Conference Tournament this year.
The women had a rough start at the tournament due to rain, causing them to change the venue mid-match. After starting doubles matches in Decorah, the rain started to come down and forced the singles matches to be played at a new venue an hour and a half away, and the women finished out the Conference Tournament match in Winona, MN. UD used this break to regroup and came back fighting in the singles matches.
The Duhawks took an early 2-1 lead, securing W’s in the second and third doubles slots from teams of sophomore Emma Cooke and junior Ayla Graziano in slot two and first-year McKenna Craff and sophomore Rachel Molidor in slot three.
In the singles department, Loras once again displayed superiority and clinched matches with wins from senior Jessica Dickhut and Graziano in second and fifth singles, respectively. Dickhut claimed her match against Ines Albino 6-1, 6-1 after falling in the same way against the same opponent earlier in the season. This 5-2 overall win marked the first postseason victory for the women since 2003.
A common theme with this tennis program is intensity and team pride. Everybody supports everybody and they truly are each other’s biggest fans.
“We will continue on with this relentless fight and teamwork that seniors Jessica Dickhut and Kylie DeWees instilled in us this year,” said Emma Cooke. “I will continue on with these values in my next two years with the tennis program.”
Cooke won more than 20 games this year. Dickhut and DeWees combined for 48 singles wins in their careers.
Unfortunately the men didn’t have quite the winning streak going into their final games. They fell 9-0 to Luther on April 25 here in Dubuque to finish out the season 13-6.
Moving onto the first round of the conference tournament, the men fell to Central 5-3. After winning the first three doubles matches, the Duhawks felt good going into singles.
Unfortunately they dropped five matches and didn’t play the sixth. Despite the loss, the Loras tennis team is quite obviously headed in the right direction.
After a 11-50 record from 2013-2016, the men’s team secured a 13-7 record this season and shows no sign of stopping there. With the great news of Jason Derby returning for his last year of eligibility, the Duhawks will bring back every member of the team and will add a year of experience to their resume as they look to win a conference title in the very near future.