18 top-three league team finishes in past 31 years
CEDAR RAPIDS — Central College’s Kayla Donner (senior, Metamora, Ill., Metamora Township HS) and Emily Swartz (senior, Eldora, South Hardin HS) each recorded victories at the Iowa Conference individual women’s tennis tourney Friday, with Swartz earning all-conference honors.
Both were competing in the A flight, which featured the league’s top 24 players.
Swartz received a first-round bye and topped Adriana DePaolis of Luther 6-3, 6-4 before being outlasted by the No. 2 seed, Cami Czech of Luther, 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
Donner defeated Wartburg’s Claire Evans, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 1-0 (1), then was ousted by the No. 4 seed, Cassandra Chalhoub of Luther, 6-3, 6-0.
Donner and Swartz then teamed for a solid win in A flight doubles, toppling Coe’s Jordan Feree and Elizabeth Hoffman, 8-5. The duo was eliminated by the No. 2-seeded team, Czech and Katy Lindstrom of Luther, 8-2.
Coach Steve Tyler was happy with the two seniors’ showing, particularly after the Dutch had a disappointing sixth-place team finish in the league dual tourney last weekend.
“They came back and held their heads up high,” Tyler said. “Their performance speaks well for both of those ladies. It was nice to get a doubles win as well. They should feel really good about it.”
Meanwhile in the B flight, Anna Striegel (freshman, Cedar Rapids, Jefferson HS) and Emily Koontz (freshman, Council Bluffs, Abraham Lincoln HS) are making a surprising bid in doubles.
“They weren’t even scheduled to play together,” Tyler said. “They’re having a nice run.”
Striegel and Koontz advanced to Saturday morning’s semifinals. They defeated a duo from Loras, 8-6, surprised the fifth seeds, Lynae Gruber and Lindsay Nash of Simpson, 8-5, then, in a tense match, knocked off the fourth seeds, Haley Henrichs and Emily Gutschenritter of Buena Vista, 9-8 (5).
Central’s three other B flight doubles teams also picked up wins. The duos of Sarah Montgomery (freshman, Bettendorf)-Jordan Langer (freshman, Verona, Wis.), Alyson Garwood (freshman, Dysart, Union HS)-Erin Vaage (freshman, Grimes, Des Moines Christian HS) and Samantha Wills (sophomore, West Burlington)-Nicole Curran (sophomore, Cedar Falls, Northern University HS) each prevailed in first-round matches before being eliminated in the second round. Central had eight players in the B flight but all suffered first-round defeats.
The tournament concludes Saturday, wrapping up the fall season. The Dutch closed with a 6-9 dual record, but for Tyler, that didn’t reflect the kind of year it was for his squad.
“The thing I’m most proud of is the attitude and chemistry of this team,” he said. “It’s a really positive, upbeat group. I would have liked to have a few more wins, but I’ve had winning seasons that weren’t nearly as fun as this one.”