Men’s & Women’s Tennis Combine for 8-0 Record on Weekend

Dylan Zimmerman

The College of St. Scholastica men’s and women’s tennis teams were tested this past weekend, as they had to perform at a high level for four matches between Friday and Sunday. Their potential and skill were on display throughout the weekend, as both teams managed to post an impressive record of 4-0. Needless to say, they weren’t really tested as far as skill goes. However, they were definitely tested on a stamina level, as all the players had to continue to perform day-in and day-out to help their respective teams earn a win on the day.

For the men’s team, this past weekend was a chance to assert their dominance within the UMAC. They got their chance right away, playing Martin Luther College on Friday. The highlight of the match was Logan Engelstad’s dominating performance at the No. 2 spot, defeating his opponent 6-0, 6-0. The Saints went on to win the match by a score of 7-2.

The Saints then played the following day against not one, but two teams. They made quick work of Midland University (Neb.), defeating them by a score of 8-1. After the matchup against the Nebraskan squad, the Saints went back to UMAC play a few hours later, squaring off against Bethany Lutheran College. The Saints took down the Knights in perfect fashion, defeating them by a final of 9-0. Josh Stainer had a great day, going 2-0 by defeating both his opponents at the No. 1 spot. They then closed out the weekend on Sunday by taking down Minnesota-Morris by a score of 9-0 as well.

The women’s team almost recorded identical scores to that of the men’s team, as they also went 4-0 on the long weekend. The women made quick work of Martin Luther College, defeating them by a score of 9-0. The highlight of the match would be the doubles teams of Elise Hauer/Daniela Rojas and Jessica Solberg/Madeleine Scanlan both blanking their opponents by scores of 8-0.

The following day was also a double header for the CSS women’s team, as they defeated both Midland and Bethany by the same scores as the men’s team did; 8-1 and 9-0, respectively. They then finished off their 4-0 weekend by taking down Morris, 9-0. All singles matches were won in straight sets, which helped extend the Saints’ series lead against Morris to 23-0 all-time.

The weekend went extremely well for the Saints, which is always a good sign, but they must be careful as their stamina was surely drained from four matches in three days.

“It’s a lot tougher than most people think to play four matches in a weekend, on your body and your mind,” said sophomore Trace Combs. “What’s nice is we have such a deep lineup that we can give guys breaks and change up the lineup between matches. If not for that, guys would be playing eight matches in one weekend, which is a bit extreme.”

The depth of the lineup on the men’s team is echoed throughout the roster, as any player can step up and win a match at any given time. This is a major reason why CSS can crush the conference every year.

“We have a lot of talent both in our usual starting lineup, and lower down as well,” said junior Zach Meikle. “Weekends like this are nice because everyone will typically get a chance to play, which definitely helps everyone stay well rested, and it prevents anyone from getting too rundown.”

One thing that is key in advancing from victory to victory in such a long weekend is making sure to keep a positive attitude and maintaining focus.

“Obviously we want to win every match, so we have to stay calm and collected when we play, focusing on one match at a time,” said freshman Moriah Branick. “Everyone played their best and kept a positive attitude throughout the whole weekend.”

With only a few weeks left of the regular season, the four wins are a big confidence boost and it will help show where the teams are at.

“It feels really good [going 4-0],” said Combs. “We’ve had a lot of tough, close matches so it’s nice to win out with four strong matches, it boosts morale.”

“I think we’re all at a good level right now, physically and mentally,” said Branick. “There are still things to work on but overall I’m impressed with how all the girls are playing. We’re improving with each match that we play.”

Some teams are trying to find their “playoff-form” around this time of the year, but the Saints think they are already well within their playoff-form.

“As far as playoffs go, I think we’re looking really good,” said Meikle. “We’ve done really well in conference play, and we definitely plan on keeping the momentum going all the way up to the UMAC tournament. That being said, there’s always something to improve upon so I know each of us will be using the next few weeks to polish the different aspects of our own games we need to before playoffs.”