Luther College Chips

Men’s Tennis: Runner-up in Automatic Qualifier Tournament

Kyle Appel (‘17) returns a hit against Wartburg earlier in the season.

Kyle Appel (‘17) returns a hit against Wartburg earlier in the season.

Photo Courtesy of Photo Bureau

Photo Courtesy of Photo Bureau

Kyle Appel (‘17) returns a hit against Wartburg earlier in the season.

Biz Wagenson, Staff Writer

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The Luther College Men’s Tennis team traveled to Cedar Rapids, IA, to play Coe College and Central College in the two-day IIAC Automatic Qualifier Tournament for a chance to go to nationals on May 5. Luther received second place, ending their season with an 18-6 record.

Luther began the tournament competing in the semi-finals against Central College. Kyle Appel (‘17) and Trent Schneider (‘18) defeated Central’s CJ Cliff and Jimmy Cunningham in doubles with a score of 8-2, while Anders Jensen (‘18) and Nate Parsons (‘19) defeated Central’s doubles team of Alex Anderson and Garret Taylor 8-3. Kenny Goins (‘17) and Brian Murman (‘19) defeated Central’s of Sam Dykstra and Tom Palmer 8-2. In singles competition, Schneider and Goins each won a match with a score of 6-0 for both. Overall, Luther won the semifinal against Central 5-0. They then advanced to the championships to play against Coe.

Luther started out with a 2-1 lead in the match against Coe after two doubles wins. Schneider and Appel beat Coe’s team of Josh Pudlo and Luke Ford 9-7, and Luther’s Jensen and Parsons beat Coe’s Brady Anderson and Nate Greiner with a score of 8-6. Luther’s doubles team of Murman and Goins lost to James McManus and Nate Ackert 8-2. Coe was able to take back the match with several wins in singles. In the end, Coe defeated Luther in the championship match with a score of 5-2.

Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Adam Strand talked discussed the team’s strengths going into the tournament.

“I think our strong point is probably our depth because we have contributions from so many different guys,” Strand said. “I think our other strong point would be experience. We’ve got a lot of guys who have been in the varsity line-up for two or three years. I think for us the thing we’re always working on is getting everybody to play their best tennis and play their best tennis on the same day. Getting to that level where we are getting the results we want is going to require all nine courts to play at the same high standard.”

Strand regarded the men’s season as successful and praised the team members on competing well throughout the year.

“I think the men have had a great season,” Strand said. “We continue to get great production from Appel, who is our number one player for the third year in a row, and couple other guys in our senior class. [Sam] Buffington (‘17) has continued be a really strong player for us in the senior’s line-up and Goins has really stepped into the doubles and done a nice job, and it kind of goes down the line from there.”

Goins agreed that this season has been a positive one and a great experience for the team.

“This season we’ve actually had a lot of success,” Goins said. “All of our losses have been to really good teams, and this team is different because last year there were no seniors, so we’ve had the same group of guys for the last two years with just one freshman added in. We’ve had a lot of time to bond and develop team chemistry.”

With a second place finish in the tournament, the Norse end their season 18-6.

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