Augustana University’s women’s tennis team is making quite a racket in the NSIC rankings with an undefeated record for the spring season.
The women’s tennis program continued its winning streak last weekend as wins over the University of Minnesota Crookston and Bemidji State University brought the team to a season record of 5-0.
“The main thing is to continue to get better every week and push ourselves in practice so then, when we get toward those more difficult matches at the end of the year, we’re prepared,” said coach Marc Kurtz.
The Vikings finished the 2019 season with an overall record of 19-3 and a conference record of 11-0.
“The fall season was good,” said senior Anca Rusu. “We started slower at the beginning but then we started to play really good. We got way better at the end; we played awesome tennis at the end.”
Women’s tennis lost one of its heaviest hitters last year when Kornelia Staniszewska graduated and left the team. Staniszewska finished the 2019 season with an 18-0 singles record and a 19-0 doubles record with her partner, sophomore Laura Arce Vieyra.
“We lost Kornelia last year. She was a four-time All American, so it hurt losing her, but everyone’s kind of stepped up,” Kurtz said. “Everyone’s a year older, a year more experienced, and our freshmen are great. The depth of our team is very strong.”
Freshman Emily Granson leads the team in singles competition with a 4-0 record and seniors Rusu and Taylor Jackson hold the same 4-0 record for doubles competition.
Their winning streak makes Kurtz feel confident about the rest of the season.
“We have made it to the regional 10 years in a row now,” Kurtz said. “We made it through to the Sweet 16 a couple of times, but it hasn’t been for six years or so. That would be our ultimate goal: to make it to the Sweet 16 and make it past that regional final. This team has a shot at doing that—we have a solid team.”
Over spring break, the tennis team will travel to Puerto Rico to play teams from all over the country. Kurtz describes the annual tennis trip, which has been held in Florida over the past few years, as the perfect opportunity for the team to hone their skills, play against some tough competition and position themselves to emerge as leaders in the region upon return.
The team continues to push itself, both on and off the court, in hopes that this year will be their best yet.
“What we are trying to cultivate right now is positivity,” Rusu said. “Also, trusting each other is very important. I want us to trust each other. I want us to be able to rely on each other when we have a problem, not just on court, but also off court.”
For now, the focus is on clinching the next match. The team will play two opponents this weekend at GreatLife Woodlake Athletic Club in Sioux Falls. On Saturday, the Vikings will face off against the Winona State University Warriors. The team will then play the Upper Iowa University Peacocks on Sunday.