18 top-three league team finishes in past 31 years
PELLA—The Central College women’s tennis team outdueled Northwestern College (Iowa) 5-4 in its spring opener inside H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse Saturday morning.
Forced indoors due to low temperatures, the Dutch (9-3) won two of the three doubles matches and split the six singles matches to top the Red Raiders (3-5). Northwestern plays the majority of its season in the spring and entered the day with five meets under its belt since Feb. 7.
Sophomore duo Angie Allgood (Muscatine) and Megan Davis (Littleton, Colo., Valor Christian HS) set the tone with an 8-6 win over Frankie Eszes and Alex Brower at No. 1 doubles. Allgood and Davis led by two breaks of service for the majority of the match before fending off Eszes and Brower with a hold in the final game.
Pella natives Jessie Ryals (sophomore) and Morgan Ernst (freshman) led for nearly the entire match before needing an extra game for a 9-7 win over Hannah Stark and McKayla Johnson at No. 3.
“Doubles is always key,” assistant coach Nick Rohner said. “It sets the tone for the day. Winning two of the matches allowed our team to play with more confidence in singles.”
Northwestern salvaged one point with an 8-4 win at No. 2.
Central was without the services of its Nos. 3 and 4 singles players Anna Bowser (sophomore, Fort Dodge) and Ashlyn Huegel (junior, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS), who are spending the spring semester studying overseas through Central College Abroad. But that did not stop the Dutch from taking the first two matches to leave the court.
Allgood was a straight-set winner at the top singles spot, winning a hard-hitting affair against Eszes 6-2, 6-1. Sophomore Katie Todd (Cedar Falls) was also a straight-set winner over Brower 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4. Both Allgood, who extended her winning streak to six matches, and Todd improved to 10-2 on the year.
“Both Angie and Katie are great match players,” said Rohner. “They work hard throughout the week, but you see a different side to their games when they’re put in competitive situations. Angie showed the variety in her game and was able to adapt to a different style of play today. It was a challenging match despite what the score may indicate.”
Ernst clinched the meet by defeating Johnson at No. 6 singles 6-1, 6-2, joining Allgood as the only other Central two-match winner of the day.
The Red Raiders were straight-set winners at Nos. 2, 3 and 5, but it was not enough.
The Dutch return to the courts April 10 against Simpson College (1-13) at Indianola. Central won the fall meeting 6-3 over its conference foe, fueled by big wins at the top and bottom of the lineup. The Storm dropped Friday’s meeting with Northwestern (Iowa) 7-2.