14 Iowa Conference team titles
PELLA — The Central College men’s tennis squad split matches at the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex Saturday, suffering an 8-1 setback against Westminster College (Mo.) before rebounding for a 9-0 rout of Iowa Conference foe Buena Vista University.
Facing Westminster (7-7) in the morning, Central (7-7) opened with a 8-2 win from Seth Harris (senior, Waverly, Neb.) and Zane Hendricks (sophomore, Fort Dodge) at No. 1 doubles but despite four three-set singles matches, the Dutch couldn’t find another win.
“We looked a step slow this morning,” said coach Steve Tyler. “We had some real gut checks in some close matches, but they could have gone either way. We lost four matches in 10-point breakers. It was very close.”
Tyler was happy with his team’s response in the afternoon showdown.
“We came out with energy against Buena Vista (4-7) and we were able to put the morning behind us and refocus,” Tyler said.
But the late contest still featured close-fought matches. Kyle Freischlag (sophomore, Downers Grove, Ill., Downers Grove South HS) and Tim Kahl (freshman, Grinnell) both rallied from first-set losses to claim singles victories at No. 2 and No. 5, respectively. Both won by a 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 mark.
Freischlag paired with freshman Josh Forst (Woodridge, Ill., Downers Grove South HS) for an 8-3 No. 2 doubles win and John Seier (sophomore, Lincoln, Neb., Waverly HS) joined Kahl for an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles. Harris and Hendricks added their second No. 1 doubles victory of the day by taking out the Buena Vista duo 8-4.
“If those two get their confidence up, they could go a long way,” said Tyler.
The Dutch are back on the court Saturday at Waverly when they take on conference opponent Wartburg College at 9 a.m. and Bethany Lutheran College (Minn.) at noon. As of Friday, the Knights are 7-4 while the Vikings have yet to open their season. Earlier in the spring, Wartburg blanked Central 9-0.
“We’re playing well up and down the order,” said Tyler. “We’re where we need to be and we have a big weekend coming up. I’m much encouraged going to Wartburg.”