Tennis losses bring goals for next season

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

The South Dakota State women’s tennis team had its season cut short this past weekend in Las Vegas, and it was not without drama.

Things started off well for the Jacks as they defeated Oakland 4-2 for the first time in school history, kicking off the Summit League cluster April 15.

No. 1 singles player Bryna Nasenbeny had a dominant performance with a 6-1, 6-2 victory. Teammate Megan McDougall fought back from a 3-6 loss in the first set of her No. 3 singles matchup before taking set two 6-3 and winning the match with a 6-4 third set win.

It would turn out to be the lone SDSU (7-15, 2-6) win at the five-match, three-day cluster at Bally’s Resort as the Jacks dropped the afternoon session to Summit League champion IPFW (22-5, 8-0) 4-0. It was the Mastodons’ 17th straight match victory.

The next day saw the Jacks lose a 4-2 battle with IUPUI. The Jaguars ended up switching their No. 4 and 6 singles players around in a move that SDSU head coach Don Hanson said was the difference.

The final day of the season showcased two matches on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

The morning match against UMKC saw the Kangaroos blank SDSU 4-0. With an afternoon match against Southern Utah on the horizon and the end of the season only a match away, it would have been easy for the Jacks to throw in the towel with nothing to play for. That turned out not to be the case.

No. 1 Nasenbeny won her team-leading 15th match of the season with a 6-4, 3-0 decision when her opponent quit down in the second set.

No. 4 McDougall won her 12th match of her sophomore season by default, while No. 6 singles Nellie Bloomberg fought back from a 2-6 first set loss to take the next two sets 6-2, 6-3 for her 14th season win.

Despite the wins, the Thunderbirds clinched a 4-3 victory when Kristi Latteier defeated No. 5 Carrie Jansen 7-6 (6-0), 6-2. Jansen fought valiantly after nine hours on the court playing singles and doubles matches.

“To lose 4-3 to Southern Utah is no disgrace whatsoever,” said Hanson. “Our girls gave 100 percent every match, so there was nothing more that we could ask.

“It was a fun time to see our kids work that hard and all the coaches that we played commented on how hard we played,” he said. “To me, that is worth more than victories.”

“If you were to summarize the season, you’d say ‘almost.’ We almost got the four seed (in the Summit League tournament) with the men, which was one match away,” said Hanson. “The women almost got there too. Next year there won’t be any almost. We’ll be there.”