FREMONT, Neb. – After winning a share of the regular season Great Plains Athletic Conference title, Midland University’s men’s tennis team solidified their claim as the best team in the conference by winning the postseason tournament on Saturday.
On Friday morning, the third-seeded Warriors swept past Northwestern, 5-0. They won the three doubles matches, (8-3, 8-2, and 8-0) before clinching the victory with wins at No. 4s and No. 5s over the Red Raiders.
Later in the day, Midland had to battle back from down 2-1 after doubles play. They drop No. 1s and No. 3s, but salvaged the sweep winning No. 2s by a score of 8-5. In singles play it would take every match to decide the outcome of the dual. Hastings took the matchup of No. 1s and No. 3s to put Midland on the brink of elimination. However they came back and won the match thanks to a strong showing by Jack Fryer at No. 2s that clinched their spot in the championship.
With high winds and cooler temperatures in the forecast, the championship matches were moved indoors on Saturday to the Fremont YMCA. Waiting in the way between the Warriors and their first ever conference tournament championship was top-seeded Doane.
Once again the Warriors had their difficulties in doubles play, falling behind 2-1 to the Tigers. In singles play Doane built upon their lead winning the battle of No. 2s. Then Midland came back with wins at No. 1s with Jack Fryer (6-4, 7-6), No. 3s with Salvador Almeida (7-6, 6-3), and then No. 5s with Jaime Olarieta (6-2, 7-6) to tie the match at 3-3.
With No. 6s just getting started, everyone’s attention turned to the matchup at No. 4s. Ryan Vitera won the opening set 6-2 before falling even with a 4-6 loss. In the third set he got out in front early and then kept his opponent at bay, winning 6-3.
“It’s unbelievable,” commented head coach Bruno Campos after the match. “The guys worked so hard for this and it’s just amazing. I am so happy for our team to get to Nationals for the first time.”
Midland (12-8, 5-1 GPAC) will compete in the NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championships in Mobile, Alabama next month. Play begins May 14th at the Mobile Tennis Center and run through May 18th.
In women’s tennis:
After earning a bid to the conference tournament in their final regular season dual, Midland University women’s tennis saw their season come to an end with a 5-0 loss to Concordia University in the quarterfinals of the Great Plains Athletic Conference Tennis Tournament. The Warriors finish the season with a 3-14 (2-5 GPAC) record in duals.
Concordia would go on to reach the championship match before falling top-seeded Hastings College, 5-4. The Broncos will represent the conference at the NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championship next month in Mobile, Alabama.