Tennis team gears up for IIAC tourney

The women’s tennis team were on both ends of a 9-0 score this weekend, falling to Coe on Saturday, Sept. 30, and shutting out Ripon the next day.

“A 9-0 score doesn’t indicate how close a match was, how competitive a match was,” said Head Coach Chad Fenwick.

“Every game could go to deuce or to 30-30, but at the end of the match it will look one-sided. In the Coe game, we battled but couldn’t seem to get the key points.”

The road match brought the 4-3 women to Cedar Rapids to take on the 4-1 Kohawks. The Nos. 1 and 2 doubles matches finished 8-1 in favor of the Kohawks. In the No. 3 match, sophomore McKenna Craff and first-year Francesca Roche took three sets, but ultimately succumbed by an 8-3 score.

“They’re a tough team. We showed that we could be competitive with them, but couldn’t quite get over the hump,” said Fenwick. “They have some nice upperclassmen leadership that they relied pretty heavily on. They’re historically a good program.”

On the singles side, playing at No. 1, first-year Audrey Hinz lost her match 6-0, 6-2, followed by junior Emma Cooke at No. 2, who lost her sets  6-1, 6-3. Craff went 6-1, 6-0. It was Roche who posted the most competitive score in the first set, 7-5, before losing the second 6-0 at the No. 4 spot.

“They were just better at implementing strategy; their top spots are very strong … we ultimately competed well but couldn’t quite get a grip,” said Fenwick.

The women then finished up their home matches, facing Ripon on Sunday, Oct. 1, coming out with a win 9-0.  Due to some inside issues, the Ripon roster was incomplete only allowing six matches to be played, as they only traveled with four Red Hawks.

The duo of Hinz and senior Ayla Graziano took down the No. 1 doubles match 8-1 while first-year Bri Eighme, paired with Cooke, also claimed a W for the Duhawks, 8-0. Craff played the No. 1 singles match for the day, winning 6-3, 6-3. Roche took No.2, 6-2, 6-1, in a fairly competitive match before first-years Maddie Smith and Meghann Long posted wins for themselves, 6-1, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-0, respectively.

“It was great to finish with a W, but now we’re just focusing on getting ready for conference tournament,” said Fenwick.

The women, finishing their fall season 8-4 (4-4 in conference), will compete in the IIAC Individual Tournament the weekend after next, Oct. 13 and 14, in Waterloo, IA, after hosting the Alumni Pro-Am this coming Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Tucker Tennis Courts.

The men’s team also competed this weekend at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regionals in St. Peter, MN, on Friday, Oct. 29. Senior Kevin Murphy and juniors Charlie Harris, Sean Baldwin and Riley Michel represented Loras in this large event that featured players not otherwise seen by the Duhawks.

“It’s a pretty loaded tournament; it’s all the best schools in the region that are trying to qualify for the Small College Nationals,” said Fenwick. “There’s a lot of really good schools there, so it’s our chance to see them on an individual level.”

Though each of the men fell in their respective first matches, there was a strong showing in the later matches. Competing in the ITA regional completes the fall season for the men. They will continue to prepare for their spring conference season.

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Natalie Droeske is the Executive Sports Editor for The Lorian.

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