Tennis team battles in regionals

 

Jessica Dickhut becomes first women’s tennis player in Loras history to win at the USTA/ITA Division III Women’s Midwest Regional Championships.
Jessica Dickhut becomes first women’s tennis player in Loras history to win at the USTA/ITA Division III Women’s Midwest Regional Championships.

DUBUQUE — 2014 has been a season of ups and  downs for the Loras women’s tennis squad, but the Duhawks have not lost sight of what’s truly important.

“They keep getting tighter and tighter as a group,” said head women’s tennis coach Karl Stubben. “They’re consistently supporting each other in matches, while pushing each other hard in practice.”

With just a few short weeks remaining in the season, the tight-knit unity seems to be paying dividends at the right time.

The Duhawks traveled to St. Peter, Minnesota this past weekend for tournament play, and the team’s comaraderie was on full display, as Loras turned in a solid showing at the USTA/ITA Division III Women’s Midwest Regional Championships/Gustie Fall Invite.

“(The team’s performance was) outstanding,” said Stubben. “For the stakes being as high as they were, the team played incredibly well. Nobody was scared or intimidated by their surroundings one bit.  Everyone played with poise.”

Stubben went on to describe the outing as “probably our most consistent performance of the season.”

Much of this consistency can be attributed to steady doubles play, which Stubben considers one of the team’s greatest strengths.

“We’ve consistently played (doubles) at a very high level,” he said. “I feel that it’s because we are, in general, a very athletic squad. They have done a great job of establishing themselves early in matches while showing the maturity needed to fight through any rough patches.”

While her teammates competed in the Gustie Invite, sophomore Jessica Dickhut made Loras College history as the first Duhawk ever to secure a victory in a match at the ITA regionals, defeating Emily McCormick of Concordia-Wisconsin in straight sets (6-2, 6-0) in the consolation bracket.

“It was the most amazing experience ever,” said Dickhut. “I’m so excited to be the first Duhawk to earn a victory in the ITAs. I’m extremely thankful that I was able to make Duhawk tennis history.”

While Dickhut’s historic accomplishment may be viewed as an individual honor, her teammates were never far from her thoughts.

“I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to play, and I really enjoyed watching all the other players,” she said. “We have grown so much as a team in just one season. We have really bonded. I am very excited to see what else we can do.”

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