Women clinch spot in IIAC Tournament
The women’s tennis team, sitting at 6-2, continues its strong streak from last year with a solid showing at the beginning of this season.
Three nonconference victories, two of them shutouts, jump-started the women’s season. The Duhawks defeated Aurora University, Illinois College and Alverno College to start the fall season.
“It was a great way to open the season and give everyone a confidence boost and get comfortable with collegiate tennis especially since we have so many first-years in the lineup. I think it was good for them to see the difference from high school tennis to college tennis and get in the groove of things,” said junior Emma Cooke.
The women then took on back-to-back matches against Central and Simpson on Saturday, Sept. 9. First-year Audrey Hinz has shined as the No. 1 singles player, going 5-0 for the season thus far.
“We had a good start,” said Head Coach Chad Fenwick. “We have a bigger roster this year than we’ve had in recent years, so it allowed us to give everyone the chance to get in the lineup, testing them out and seeing what they could do.”
The team ultimately fell to Central, 7-2, before it claimed a 7-2 victory over Simpson. A 6-3 loss to Wartburg brought the women’s record to 4-2, overall.
“We’ve had some good wins in the conference. We split with Simpson and Central, so it was nice that we were able to get one win in our first conference weekend there,” said Fenwick.
The next two matches brought Nebraska Wesleyan and Buena Vista to Dubuque, with the Duhawks shutting out both teams, 9-0. The Nebraska game really allowed the women to really shine.
“We came out strong in doubles and took an early 3-0 lead going into singles,” said Cooke. “Then we took this momentum and used it in singles winning all six. I have to give a shout-out to Audrey Hinz because she has been absolutely been killing it at No. 1 singles.”
With sweeps of Nebraska Wesleyan and Buena Vista to follow, the women secured a place in Conference Tournament which only takes the top six teams.
“Last year, we qualified for the tournament and were able to upset the third seed in the first round. This year our hope is to be able to qualify for a higher seed,” said Fenwick.
Through a good portion of the season, the women are excited for what’s to come. Despite losing two strong seniors from last season, any and all slack has been more than picked up.
“We have a lot deeper of a line up this year and having a roster that allows players to play singles or doubles is great for our lineup. It allows us to play our top single players and our top doubles players,” said Cooke. “I’m super excited to get into the heart of our season as we hit our stride and take it to the Conference Tournament. I’m confident in every spot in our lineup to win. These girls have the heart and grit to take us far in the Conference Tournament.”