Luther College Chips

Women’s tennis triumphs over IIAC

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The Women’s Tennis team at Central College following their conference win.

The Women’s Tennis team at Central College following their conference win.

Photos Courtesy of Luther Tennis Facebook page

Photos Courtesy of Luther Tennis Facebook page

The Women’s Tennis team at Central College following their conference win.

Emma Busch, Staff Writer

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Luther College Women’s Tennis won their second consecutive Iowa Conference championship in an 8-1 victory over Central College in Pella, Iowa on Oct. 7. They followed their win with strong performances at the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) Individual Tournament in Waterloo, Iowa on Oct. 13 and 14.

Luther swept Central College in doubles, taking a 3-0 lead going into single matches. The team also won five of its six singles matches, with Britta Pressler (‘19) securing her victory 7-5 and 6-4. Jackie Cychosz (‘18) won her match 6-2, 6-1, clinching the team’s championship win. This is the 27th IIAC Women’s Tennis title for Luther.

According to Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Adam Strand (‘04), the team played well in spite of challenges presented by the weather and a lack of indoor tennis courts available, which caused an eight hour-long delay between the team’s first and second match.

“We played Simpson in the morning and won that match, and the big match at the end of the day was with Central,” Strand said. “[There were] some unique circumstances with no indoor backup at Simpson, which meant that Simpson and Wartburg were also playing at Central. So we finished playing Simpson at ten in the morning and didn’t go back on the court until six that evening. That’s obviously a test for players and their resilience.”

During this weather delay, the team left the courts and explored Pella before returning to warm up. Associate Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Miriam Skrade (‘04) believed this break was necessary for the team to recharge before the match continued.

“It was important to leave the venue for a little bit so they weren’t just thinking about the meet and anticipating it the whole time,” Skrade said.

In the IIAC Individual Tournament, a week later, players on all nine participating teams are separated into A, B, and C flights in singles and A and B flights in doubles, based on skill level.

The weather presented challenges once again, forcing play to move from the Brynes Park Tennis Center to the Blackhawk Tennis Club.

Three duos advanced to the semifinals of A flight doubles, including Cychosz and Claire Christian (‘18), Kelsey Kruse (‘20) and Devon Bourget (‘21), and Anna Pearson (‘19) and Pressler, taking second, third, and fourth place, respectively. Cychosz and Christian advanced to the championship match after beating teammates Kruse and Bourget, but lost the title match 8-4. Cychosz placed fourth in A flight singles, while Erin Halverson (‘19) placed third in C flight singles.

Kruse said that the IIAC Individual Tournament is an opportunity to display the team’s strengths, specifically in doubles play.

“It’s another chance for us to show off our skills we’ve been working on,” Kruse said. “We all know that we have jobs to get done, and our doubles are always a really strong point for us and that just carries on into singles play.”

Christian said she is proud of the team’s strong performance in A flight doubles in spite of the challenges presented by the weather.

“It was a really long weekend, but we ended up with good results,” Christian said. “We’ve always been a pretty good doubles team overall, so it was not super surprising that we did really well. It’s something that I’m really proud of.”

The IIAC Individual Tournament marks the end of the fall season for women’s tennis. According to Strand, the team’s main goal for the spring season is to face as many strong teams as possible in order to prepare for the IIAC Automatic Qualifier Tournament.

“We always make it a pretty tough schedule, so our record never looks as impressive as it does in the fall,” Strand said. “We try to seek out as many good teams as we can so we’re prepared for our automatic qualifier tournament at the end of April when the top six teams in our league will come here. Whoever wins that tournament will qualify for nationals, so we want to make sure we feel ready to face any challenge that comes our way.”

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