Strong fall finish for Duhawks

WATERLOO, IA. – In the last week of their season, the women’s tennis team traveled to Waterloo, IA., on Friday, Oct. 11, for their final match: the American Rivers Conference Women’s Tennis Individual Tournament.

As usual, the tournament was split up into five flights: two for doubles and three for singles. Starting off in the doubles A-flight, the Duhawks had one team participating. This duo was junior Audrey Hinz and sophomore Noely Baumann, Loras’ number one doubles team. Hinz and Baumann were given a pass for the first round, allowing them to start in the quarterfinals, where they were matched up against rivals Kruse and Hastings from Luther college. It was a difficult match, with Hinz and Baumann losing 1-8.

Located in the doubles B-flight were the rest of the Duhawks. First up were first-years Molly Monson and Isabel Schwabe. Their opponents were Luther’s Spencer and Schossow, who defeated Monson and Schwabe 5-8. The pairing of juniors Meghann Long and Maddie Smith took on Heins and Jabbah from cross-town rival University of Dubuque, whom they beat 8-1. Moving onto the second round, Long and Smith were matched up against Coe’s Montoya and Puleo, who ended their doubles’ time with close match of 8-7, with a 14-12 tiebreaker.

The first opponents for sophomore Mariana Bayona-Paez and first-year Samantha Flaningam were a mashup of Central and Luther, and the Duhawks were able to overcome this pairing, 8-6. During the second round, though, this Duhawk pairing was defeated by Simpson’s Grubb and Miller, 2-8.

The last Loras pairing in the doubles B-flight were first-years Sara Backus and Lauren Diiulio, who were allowed to start in the second round of the flight. Taking out their first opponents Guse and Jacobs from Wartburg, 8-3, they went on to win the quarterfinal match with Central’s Schirm and Griggs, 8-6. Their streak ended in the semifinals at the hands of Luther, 6-8, but they were able to snag the third-place spot from another Luther team, 8-5.

Moving onto singles, two women from Loras participated in the A-flight: Long and Hinz. In the pre-matches, Long’s opponent was Sundermann from Coe. It was a challenging match and Long was unable to overcome her opponent, losing 6-7 (4-7), 3-6. Hinz also played an opponent from Coe and she, too, was knocked out of the tournament in a 3-6, 2-6 match.

In the singles B-flight, the team had three participants: Diiulio, Schwabe, and Backus. Diiulio, in her first round, took out Wartburg’s Jacobs with an 8-3 win. In the second round, though, she was pitted against Luther’s Schossow and was taken out of the running, 6-8. The other two Duhawks–Schwabe and Backus–ended their work at conference with a heated competition. Schwabe went on a rampage in her matches, knocking out players from top teams Coe, Central, and Luther with wins 8-1, 8-6 and 8-6, respectively. In the semifinals her streak was ended by Luther’s Hastings in a 3-6, 4-6 match. Backus had her own fair share of tough opponents, but she held nothing back as she moved up the ranks past Wartburg, Central, and another Wartburg player with wins 8-4, 8-4 and 8-6, respectively. In her own semifinal match against Luther’s Dunning, Backus was defeated 1-6, 4-6. With Schwabe and Backus both taken out in the semifinals, the teammates were pitted against one another, with Schwabe coming out on top 6-1, 6-2, giving her the third-place title.

“Izzie and Sara both had a really good tournament,” said Head Coach Chad Fenwick. “Izzie was the fifth seed and ended up two spots higher, and Sara was fourth seed, ending at fourth. Both of them played very well.”

Competing in the C-flight was the rest of the women’s team. First-year Samantha Flaningam was matched up with Central’s Griggs in her first round, and was defeated 0-8. In Monson’s first round, she took out Wartburg’s Laube, 8-4, allowing her to move on to compete against Dubuque’s Colon. However, her time in the C-flight was cut short with a 5-8 defeat. Baumann’s first opponent of the flight was Simpson’s Goodger, whom she was able to easily overcome with an 8-2 win. However, her next opponent was from Luther, and in a close match, the Duhawk lost 5-8. Smith, for her first round, took out Coe’s Runyon with a solid 8-1, allowing her to move on and knock out Central’s Holle, 8-2. Sadly, Smith herself was taken out by Central’s Behrens in the quarterfinals, 7-8, with a tiebreak score of 5-7. The final Duhawk in the C-flight, sophomore Mariana Bayona-Paez, wreaked havoc in her first two rounds, taking out both Central and Luther, 8-0. Her quarterfinals match proved more challenging, but Bayona-Paez was able to persevere, taking out Luther’s Rubbelke, 8-7 (9-7). Having made it into the semifinals, the Duhawk’s momentum was cut short by Central’s Behrens in a close match, 3-6, 3-6, 8-10. In the third-place match, Bayona-Paez soundly defeated Dubuque’s Colon, 6-1, 6-2, claiming another title for the team.

At the end of the tournament, the women’s team claimed three third-place spots. With that all said and done, the women will now move into their off-season in order to prepare for their next season in the spring.

“In the spring season, we’ll be going into the automatic qualifier tournament as the second seed,” explained Coach Fenwick. “It will be the first time we have gone into the tournament as the second seed. During the off season, we’ll be working on strength and conditioning, so that when we get into the spring season, we can play some good competition to prepare.”

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