Doubles Points Prove Critical for Netters
Entering Saturday’s match against the Peacocks, head women’s tennis coach Kevin Grebin had emphasized the importance of doubles points all week in practice.
He explained that against such a quality team like Upper Iowa, the single matches would be tough, so it's important to steal as many doubles points as possible.
"Our goal is to make the NSIC tournament, and every team point counts," Grebin said. "So knowing we have one point, two points, three points going into singles play is good for us."
He could not have been more correct on Saturday night, as the Cougars (3-4, 2-3 NSIC) gutted out a 5-4 decision against Upper Iowa University (2-3, 2-2 NSIC) at Sioux Empire Fitness in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The two teams split the six singles matches, but the Cougars claimed two of the three doubles matches, which would prove to be the difference.
According to sophomore Morgan DeLange, after last year's 9-0 loss to Upper Iowa, "it was nice to turn the tables."
The Watertown native teamed with Julia Iversen to roll UIU’s Alvarez/Worrall in third flight doubles, 8-1. DeLange later bageled Alvarez in No. 6 singles.
“Morgan was definitely the player of the match,” Grebin said. “She had a great first serve and just had an all-round solid effort in both matches.”
The second doubles point for the Cougars came down to former Roosevelt standout Molly Seigenthaler and freshman Emily Erickson. The No. 2 duo was tied 4-4 with Upper Iowa and proceeded to win four of the next games to hold on for an 8-6 triumph.
Leading 2-1, the Cougars needed three singles points to secure the win.
and DeLange both took care of business at fourth and sixth singles respectively,
dropping only two games in total.
Junior Karlee Sieve won in straight sets (6-2, 6-4) at the fifth flight, giving the Cougars the clinching fifth point.
The Peacocks tallied wins in No. 1-No. 3 singles to create the final margin.
UIU’s Loewecke upended Kauss at No. 1, 6-4, 6-0.
Rachel Hussey fell in a tiebreak to Pothen in the No. 3 position, 4-6, 6-0 (10-2).
The No. 2 singles match proved to be the most exciting for all in attendance. USF’s Beard dropped the first set to Olson, 6-4 and trailed 5-2 in the second frame before rallying to force the tiebreak. She would drop the second set, 7-6 (7-5) but that did nothing to limit the praise Grebin offered after the players shook hands.
“I’m so proud of her,” Grebin said. “Coaches worry about putting freshmen at the top of the lineup, in terms of pressure, but Stacey showed so much confidence and never gave up.”
USF takes its two-match winning streak into spring break. The Cougars will head to Hilton Head Island, S.C. in three weeks, where they will face the likes of No. 42 (ITA) West Liberty, UNC-Pembroke and Kentucky Wesleyan.