Tennis splits weekend, moves 10-5 overall
Maddie Warzeka / Winonan
The Winona State University tennis team sits 7-2 in the conference and 10-5 overall after weekend play against the Augustana University Vikings and the University of Sioux Falls Cougars.
Before the match on Saturday against the Vikings, Winona State’s head coach Heather Pierce said Augustana has consistently finished in the top spot in the NSIC. The Warriors and Vikings entered the match as the top two teams in the conference.
“[The Vikings] play tough competition throughout their season, which is reflected in their out of conference record,” Pierce said. “USF is always a solid and consistent program. We hope to be successful in that match.”
Augustana proved its strength, breaking the Warriors’ four-match winning streak. Winona State lost 8-1 with one lone victory by their number four singles player, first-year Kendra Kappes. Kappes has seven wins at the number four spot in conference and was tied for the second most wins at that position in conference before the weekend.
Kappes is not the only one doing well, according to Pierce.
“All the girls are playing great, and each of them at one point or another has had a huge impact on the team result. That’s the fun part about tennis. It’s an individual sport, but individual results are what contribute to the success of the team,” she said.
Sunday, the Warriors defeated Sioux Falls 9-0.
First-year Tayla Card and senior Katie Scruggs won 8-0 in doubles, while junior Rachel Gantz and first-year Kendra Kappes won 8-1 and junior Justine Daane and Kaisey Skibba won 8-3.
Daane said, “This season is going a lot better than expected. Last year we didn’t meet the expectations we were hoping for and this year we far surpassed what we hoped to. We’ve been beating teams we weren’t expected to and I think that’s why this season has been so fun.”
Daane has been playing tennis competitively since middle school and her love for the game has not faded since. On Saturday, the Warriors played the number one team in the conference, and she said this did not faze her; instead, she feels less pressure against high ranking teams.
As for the future, Pierce said she and the team set several goals at the beginning of the season.
“We’d like to finish the season with a winning record, make the conference tournament finishing in the top three and finish the year with a team GPA of 3.6 or higher,” Pierce explained.
Each of the players set their own goals as well. Daane said there is always room for improvement and having supportive team members helps.
She said, “When a match comes down to the last player playing, our whole team stands behind them and cheers until they finish. We have had a lot of matches like this this year, and I feel as though they are the most fun and exciting.”
This weekend the Warriors will travel to play Minnesota State University Moorhead on Saturday, April 8 and the University of Mary the following day.
By Maddie Warzeka