The Augustana women’s tennis team has begun its 2018 spring season with a strong start.
After opening its season with a close 5-4 loss against Newman University on Feb. 2, the team quickly rebounded that same day, claiming a 5-1 victory over Missouri Western State.
Since then, the women have won seven consecutive matches, the most recent being a 9-0 sweep against their conference foe MSU Moorhead.
“The season is going well so far,” said senior Kaitlyn Schultz. “Knowing that this team has a winning tradition within our conference, I am confident that we can carry that through this season.”
Augustana has held the first-place conference title for eight years straight, going undefeated in each one.
This will be the fourteen year for head coach Marc Kurtz, reigning NSIC Coach of the Year. Kurtz said he feels confident about the season.
“We have a solid team in terms of depth,” Kurtz said. “We havet eight girls on the roster, eight strong players.”
He said the team is performing well, especially considering multiple players have dealt with injuries and illness during what has been a particularly bad flu season.
“There’s always challenges, and the biggest one right now is injuries,” Kurtz said. “People are a little banged up right now.”
If there are any other challenges to the season, sophomore Rebecca Falkner said the team is working on maintaining its positivity.
“Tennis is such a mental sport, so remaining positive the entire match is difficult,” Faulkner said. “But we’re all working on it together.”
Two players to watch out for are Berkley Darr, a senior player from Sioux Falls, S.D. who led the win against MSU Moorhead and Kornelia Staniszewska, a junior from Opalenie, Poland who was awarded NSIC Preseason Player of the Year and has remained undefeated this season.
In preparation for upcoming tournaments, senior Kaitlyn Schultz said the team has been practicing its doubles, as well as doing extra workouts outside of practice to prepare for long matches.
“We’ve been working a lot on doubles, specifically because that is what all matches start with,” Schultz said. “It took time to get doubles partners together with having people graduate and new freshmen come in, but the teams are very strong now.”
Schultz said she hopes to see the team qualify for and win the conference tournament so it can move on to the NCAA regional tournament.
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