Duhawks split with conference rivals

DECORAH, IA. & CEDAR RAPIDS, IA. – It was a busy week for the women’s tennis team as they competed against two of the top contenders of their conference: Luther and Coe.

The women’s first match took place on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Luther College in Decorah, IA. Opening up the competition were the doubles pairings junior Audrey Hinz and sophomore Noely Baumann, first-years Sara Backus and Lauren Diiulio, and juniors Meghann Long and Maddie Smith. In the number one slot, Hinz and Baumann played against Bourget and Cook of Luther, but were unable to hold out, losing 1-8. The first-year duo of Backus and Diiulio represented Loras in the two slot, and their opponents were Kruse and Hastings of Luther. They, too, were defeated 1-8. Long and Smith, in the third slot, fought with all they had against Spencer and Schossow of Luther, but heartbreakingly were taken out in a close match, 7-8.

Junior Audrey Hinz defeated her Coe opponent in singles play, helping the team win its conference match against Coe.

Trailing 0-3, the Duhawks moved into singles. Leading the charge as the number one was Hinz, whose opponent was once again Bourget of Luther. The match was a difficult one for Hinz, who wasn’t able to overcome Bourget, losing 3-6, 2-6. Long–the number two singles player–took on Cook, but was defeated 2-6, 0-6. Diiulio and Backus, two of the new players, competed in the number three and four singles, respectively. Diiulio’s foe, Kruse, and Backus’s opponent, Hastings, provided arduous matches for the first-years, who–despite their best efforts–were defeated 2-6, 2-6, and 1-6, 3-6. In the number five singles was a third newcomer for the women’s team: first-year Isabel Schwabe. Schwabe competed against Luther’s Spencer, and through a powerful display, won 6-0, 6-1, marking the first point for Loras. Last, but not least, Baumann, in the six singles spot, butted heads with Dunning. It was a back-and-forth match, with Baumann winning the first set 6-4 and losing the next 5-7. In the tiebreaker match, Baumann pulled out all the stops and took the win 10-4, tacking on one more point for Loras, making the final score 7-2.

“It was a difficult match for the women,” said head coach Chad Fenwick. “We just couldn’t quite hold out in doubles, [but] they were better in singles.”

With one loss and one more match to go, the Duhawks traveled to Cedar Rapids, IA, on Saturday, Sept. 28, for their match against Coe College. Sticking with the same strategy as last time, Hinz and Baumann competed in doubles against Hoppenjans and Sundermann of Coe. It was a close match, but Coe just barely snatched the win with a 7-8 game. Backus and Diiulio went up against number two Lassen and White of Coe, whom they asserted their dominance over with an 8-3 win. Lastly, Long and Smith played against Craig and Montoya, soundly beating them 8-4.

Leading the match 2-1, the singles matches kicked off with Hinz and Sundermann competing in the ones slots. Hinz, seeking retribution for doubles, took the win from Sundermann 6-3, 6-4. Long’s opponent in two’s was Hoppenjans, who gave Long a hard time, stealing the match 2-6, 1-6. Diiulio had difficulty in her own match against Lassen in the three slot, who defeated the Duhawk 1-6, 0-6. Number four Backus had a close match in the first set of her match against White, but was unable to overcome her challenging opponent, losing 6-7, 2-6. The number five singles slot pitted Schwabe against Coe’s Sweeney. In a stunning display, Schwabe showed no mercy as she crushed her opponent 6-0, 6-0. With a tie game of 4-4, it all came down to Baumann and her match against Puleo. Desiring that win, Baumann put her all into her match and successfully defeated Puleo 6-2, 6-2. It was a competitive day for the Duhawks, but through determination, perseverance, and skill, they overcame Coe 5-4.

“Overall, the women played pretty well,” said Coach Fenwick regarding their match against the Kohawks. “They went in and played aggressively in doubles, giving us the 2-1 lead for singles. We knew we had a good chance at five and six, but the top four were really tough. Audrey really stepped up in her match, cinching the win for us.”

With one win and one loss, the women’s team looks forward to their next matches against Saint Ambrose on Oct. 1 in Davenport, IA, and a home match against the University of Dubuque on Oct. 8.

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