Jacks’ tennis squads find Summit League success

By Andrew Mount Sports Editor

The SDSU men’s and women’s tennis teams both competed this past week in conference matchups, earning victories in their respective meets.

While the women’s team competed in four straight conference meets, winning them all, the men only competed once against Omaha, earning a victory of 4-1 and  improving their record to 9-10 overall (2-1 Summit).

“Overall I thought it was a pretty solid win for us,” said SDSU tennis head coach Michael Engdahl. “We’ve been preaching the energy and focus for an entire match.”

SDSU scored the team points in doubles with wins at No. 2 and No. 3, while also winning the top three spots in singles to close out the meet and seal the victory. Omaha scored its only point in No. 5 singles with a three-set win.

Engdahl was very pleased with the performance of Parker Lawley, saying he comes through when the team needs him.

“He’s been just a rock the entire year,” Engdahl said. “He’s one of the smartest players, he’s one of the most consistent players, and you know what you’re going to get from him every day.”

Because the Jackrabbit men’s tennis team is a very young team, Engdahl is very excited about the future of tennis at SDSU, saying that he’s very happy with the direction they are going in.

“I think we have a lot to build upon,” Engdahl said. “The future is bright.”

The women earned four straight conference victories this past week, winning 4-1 against Oakland and 4-0 against the University of South Dakota on April 11, 4-0 against Omaha on April 12, and 4-0 against IUPUI on April 13.

“The women played phenomenal,” Engdahl said.  “It was probably our best weekend of tennis. They played at a high level from the first point of the first match to the last point of the last match, which is great to see.”

Engdahl looks to Jenny Blackburne as a team leader, saying she has a lot to do with the success of the women’s team.

“(Jenny) was the motivation — she got everybody going,” Engdahl said. “I couldn’t be happier as a coach with the week of tennis we had. Not just on the wins we had, but with the way we won.”

Following their four victories, the women are now 15-9 overall, with a 5-2 record in The Summit League, something Engdahl credits to the entire team.

“I think the best part about that weekend is that we didn’t have just one outstanding person — it was everybody,” Engdahl said. “We have seven girls who were in Omaha doing business and taking care of business. That was the best part of the weekend.”

Neither the men nor women get the luxury of playing in front of a home crowd, which is something Engdahl said the team embraces as a challenge.

“It’s something that we’re used to now,” Engdahl said. “When we travel so much, we can almost use it as an advantage … We’re focused only on tennis when we get someplace … I think it helps us out.”

The men will continue action on April 19 in another conference matchup against Western Illinois while the women have the Summit League Championships to look ahead to on April 26-27.