The ACU women’s tennis season came to a close this weekend with one win and one loss in the National Invitational Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. The three-team tournament featured the Wildcats, the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks and the Grand Canyon University Antelopes.
All three teams represent schools that are in the midst of transitioning from Div. II to Div. I, and are ineligible to compete in their respective conference, regional and national playoffs.
“Preparation for the NIT tournament was the same as our previous matches,” said John Walker, assistant coach. “Preparing the players mentally was our main objective. With the season coming to an end, sometimes it’s tough to stay in the moment or on task, both [men and women’s] teams responded very well.”
The Wildcats faced very little competition in Saturday’s match against the Mavericks, blanking UNO 7-0. The women rolled through doubles competition with victories of 8-5, 8-4 and 8-1, then proceeded to sweep all six singles contests in straight sets. Sophomore Kaysie Hermsdorf didn’t surrender a single game in her 6-0, 6-0 victory at the No. 5 spot, while senior Micah Hermsdorf and freshman Erin Walker each gave up only one game at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively.
The Hermsdorf sisters reached their 20th win of the season in doubles play with their victory, while sophomore Nada Marjanovic won her 20th singles match of the year.
After GCU followed suit and swept Omaha later on Saturday. The Wildcats and Antelopes faced off on Sunday to determine the tournament’s champion, where GCU claimed a 5-2 victory.
For only the sixth time this season, the Wildcats gave up the opening point by losing two of the three doubles matches. Down 1-0, the Wildcats faced the task of winning four of six matches against a competitive Antelopes squad.
Junior Brittany Reed and senior Emily Conrad scored victories for the Wildcats, giving both players four-match winning streaks to end the season. Reed and Conrad’s wins were all ACU could muster on the afternoon, leaving GCU to be crowned as NIT champions.
“I have to compliment all of my teammates,” Kaysie Hermsdorf said. “We all fought [until] the last point. Brittney Reed had an amazing match along with Emily Conrad. Both these girls took on the heat and brought out a win.”
The Wildcats ended their inaugural Div. I season with an 18-6 record overall, and a 9-3 record in the Southland Conference, good enough for fourth place. GCU finished at 13-6, and UNO at 7-14.