Vikings Fall To No. 35 Southwest Baptist In NCAA Tournament
BOLIVAR, MO — The Augustana women’s tennis team saw their season come to a close Monday when they fell 5-1 to No. 35 Southwest Baptist. The Vikings finish the season with a 21-3 record, including two conference championships, and the Bobcats advance to the NCAA Championships in Surprise, Ariz. with a 22-1 overall record.
Jessa Richards and Hannah Gebauer were the lone Viking tandem to record a win, when they took down SBU’s No. 2 doubles pairing 8-5.
The Vikings found themselves in a hole early when Augustana’s No. 1 doubles, Katie Jesperson and Michelle Wadas, squad fell 8-0 and the No. 3 pairing, Heather Sullivan and Jenna Helleberg, dropped their match 8-2.
The Bobcats expanded their lead to 3-1 when Christina Zentai, ranked 14th in the Central region as a singles player, dispatched Wadas in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2.
For SBU’s fourth win, Faiga Scmidt defeated Heather Sullivan, 6-0, 6-4. To close the match, Jenna Helleberg’s spirited comeback in the second set couldn’t break through and she lost 6-0, 7-5, to give the Bobcats the 5-1 team win.
Gebauer looked to carry the momentum of her doubles win and was the only Viking to win a singles set. Gebauer took the first set 6-4 from Adrienn Kovacs, who was ranked No. 17 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The match went unfinished after the Bobcats secured their fifth match win.
Jesperson was moved up to the No. 2 singles ranking in the ITA region rankings last week and she faced the top-ranked player in Southwest Baptist’s Fanni Vargas in the top singles match.
Jesperson’s match went unfinished, but the first set provided much drama. Vargas had surrendered just four games to one other opponent this season, before Jesperson pushed her to the brink, losing 7-5 in the first set.
Richards was tasked with a difficult opponent as well, playing No. 2 singles. After earning the No. 19 ranking in the Central Region, Richards had to face No. 12-ranked Mehak Singh and the tight match went unfinished. Richards dropped the first set 6-1, but battled Singh in the second and was on serve, down 6-5 when the match was called.
Augustana ends its season with a 21-3 record, the fourth straight season with at least 18 wins and their win total ties the school record for most in a season. The Vikings also won their fourth straight NSIC regular season conference championship with a perfect 12-0 record including 10 shutout wins.
The Vikings also secured their third consecutive NSIC Tournament championship with wins over Sioux Falls, St. Cloud State, and Winona State. That tournament championship gave the Vikings their fourth straight NCAA Central Region Tournament appearance, before they lost to Southwest Baptist Monday afternoon.
Courtesy: Augustana College