Tennis misses chance at conference match

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Maddie Warzeka / Winonan

Winona State University women’s tennis achieved one of their team goals this weekend by playing in the conference tournament.

“Achieving our goal felt great. We have a young team and had a lot of settling in to do before we knew what we were working with,” Coach Heather Pierce said. “We set realistic goals and it felt great to reach them and then some.”

The team kicked off the tournament on Saturday, April 22 against Bemidji State University. First year Kendra Kappes and junior Rachel Gantz won their first doubles match 8-3. 

“It would be very exciting to win,” Gantz said prior to the match. “Everyone has worked very hard for the past year for this weekend and now it is time to put all our hard work of the season into these matches and leave everything we have on the court.”

After the doubles matches, Bemidji State was ahead 2-1, but the Warriors fought back in singles. First-year Kaisey Skibba tied the match 2-2, winning her singles matches 6-3 and 6-4. 

“Kaisey Skibba had an awesome weekend. She has been tested at no.1 singles all year,” Pierce said. “This weekend, she beat two girls that both had beaten her earlier in the season.” 

Winona State ended the match against Bemidji State with a 5-2 win. Since Winona State won their first match of the tournament, they played again Sunday morning against St. Cloud State University.

“As a team, we swept doubles against St. Cloud, which was an awesome moment. Our team energy was so high,” Pierce said.

St. Cloud State attempted to make a comeback in the singles, taking the first two matches, but the Warriors stayed strong. Skibba got Winona back in the game, winning three games 6-1, 6-3, and 6-4. This pushed the Warriors ahead to take the match, securing a 5-2 win.

With two wins under their belt, the Warriors moved on to play in the championship match Sunday, April 23. Determined to achieve their ultimate goal of winning the championship match in the NSIC tournament, the girls took on Augustana University. However, Augustana swept the doubles portion of the match, putting them in the lead. The Warriors could not come back.

“They played awesome. They were focused, competitive, and poised. I couldn’t have been more proud,” Pierce said.

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