14 Iowa Conference team titles
WAVERLY—Its final regular season meet was forced inside due to rain and the Central College men’s tennis team was unable to find its footing on the slower surface in its Iowa Conference bout against Wartburg College, a 6-3 setback Tuesday.
The Dutch (12-8 overall, 4-3 conference) mustered only one doubles win, providing the Knights (10-8 overall, 6-1 conference) with an early advantage they would not relinquish. The decision gives Wartburg the No. 2 seed in this weekend’s conference tournament, while Central holds the No. 4 seed and a first-round date with Buena Vista (5-12 overall, 3-4 conference).
West Adelman (sophomore, Geneva, Ill.) and Tim Kahl (junior, Grinnell) put together a dominant performance at the top doubles spot, besting Eric Hilpert and Andrew Greene 8-3. That was all for Central in doubles, however, as the Knights prevailed 8-5 and 8-0 at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
Wartburg increased its advantage with wins at Nos. 3 and 4 singles, but Adelman kept the Dutch alive with a gutsy performance against Hilpert at No. 1. Adelman dominated the first set 6-1 and took a commanding 5-1 lead in the second. Hilpert battled back for a 6-5 lead before Adelman forced a tiebreak, which he controlled from start-to-finish for the 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) victory.
The Knights clinched the meet and the No. 2 seed with a win at No. 2 singles.
John Seier (senior, Waverly, Neb.) needed a first-set tiebreak, but eventually outlasted Luke Benna 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 at No. 5 singles. It’s the 14th singles win of the year for Seier, who joins Adelman with a two-match winning streak entering the postseason.
Wartburg won the last match, No. 6, for the three-point decision.
The top-six conference teams turn their sights to the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, which is given to the winner of the league’s tournament. Friday and Saturday’s event, hosted by regular season champion Coe College, will be held at Clark Racquet Center and Veterans Memorial Tennis Center in Cedar Rapids.
The Dutch draw the Beavers, who Central topped 8-1 at Pella April 12. Central swept the six singles matches, with its only defeat coming at No. 3 doubles. No Dutch player dropped more than three games in a singles match. Central also beat BV 7-2 at Fort Dodge Sept. 17.