Last week, the Augustana men’s tennis team traveled to Oklahoma City for the four-day ITA Central Regional tournament but returned defeated.
“I think we all played pretty well but we had some closer results,” senior Joe Sawatzke said. “All the teams brought their top players. This region is very competitive. Everybody’s top players are there for a reason – they’re all pretty tough.”
The competition proved to be challenging. All of Augie’s players were defeated in the first round of the tournament.
Junior Logan Barr and sophomore North Knewtson fell in men’s singles A to Washburn University 6-3, 6-1 and 6-3, 6-4 respectively. Senior Austin VanDerWeide finished his match 6-0, 6-3, losing to his opponent from Oklahoma Baptist University, and Joe Sawatzke fell to his Southeastern Oklahoma State opponent 6-0, 6-2.
In men’s doubles A, Vanderweide and Knewtson, after a first-round bye, lost to a pair from Southwest Baptist 8-4. Sawatzke and Barr had a very close finish against a pair from Lindenwood University but ultimately fell 9-8.
Despite the losses, VanDerWeide spoke optimistically about the team’s performance and remains hopeful for the upcoming season.
“It’s good to be close with these guys, but you know, we want to beat them,” Vanderweide said. “A lot of times it was just a point or two here or there that determines the match and we’re really trying to be the one that comes out on top.”
Both Sawatzke and VanDerWeide praised coach Kurtz’ coaching abilities.
“I love our coach,” Vanderweide said. “He’s really helped me both individually and helped me learn how to be a good teammate. He’s helped with strategy, technique, mental toughness and conditioning.”
Sawatzke agreed that Kurtz has been a good leader for the team.
“He helped us with all the elements, and he’s right by our side during the matches this weekend and that was nice,” Kurtz said. “He’s constantly providing feedback whether it’s positive or negative, and he wants the best out of us. It really helped us a lot this weekend.”
The men’s tennis team is looking to improve from its 7-9 overall record last season. This is the only tournament that the men’s team will play until its spring season starts, and was a way to allow it to scope out its competition beforehand.
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