Men's and women's tennis have strong showings in Omaha
OMAHA – Both the Northern Colorado men's and women's tennis teams were in Omaha over the weekend for the Omaha Collegiate Invitational, hosted by Creighton.
In the men's tournament, four teams competed in Creighton, Northern Colorado, Nebraska-Omaha and South Dakota State, while in the women's tournament North Dakota and South Dakota were added to the mix.
In singles play, the men combined to go 10-8, while in doubles they went 7-2 putting together one of the best tournaments for the team since the school moved to Division I.
"The guys that were lucky enough to travel to the tournament understand what we are trying to build at the University of Northern Colorado and are committed to each other being successful," said men's head coach Tom Bearman. "Most importantly, along with playing solid tennis they brought a mental toughness to the courts that we have lacked in the past. They were rewarded with excellent results and it was a much more enjoyable van ride back to Greeley."
"The two freshmen, Jordan and Ben showed great poise playing at one doubles," said Bearman. "They went undefeated and it was their first time competing together. I threw them into the fire and they stepped up to the challenge and finished out all of their matches. They showed great poise out there against three very good doubles teams."
"Andre and Brandon also went undefeated and played great doubles," said Bearman. "They are growing as a doubles team and I think they have the potential to have great results during the season. Brandon Lupo's intensity sets the tone for this team and the guy was efficient and played smart tennis for all of his singles matches. He continues to develop and it's great to see him not miss a beat after coming off his injury. The guy is relentless and one of the toughest competitors I've been around. Brandon didn't drop a set during the tournament and that's a credit to his mental toughness."
"Michael Moya was just dialed in mentally," said Bearman. "He played great singles and stayed composed in a hostile environment. He competed, controlled his emotions and refused to be intimidated by the fans or other players. That's what we need from him all year and I can tell he's ready to step up."
"There's still a lot to accomplish before the season starts but it was an excellent tournament for the Bears," said Bearman. "My hope is the guys that traveled, the ones that are dedicated to this team, realized that they can step up and win and should take a lot of confidence from this tournament."
The women also had a strong showing at the Omaha Collegiate Invitational, as six of the seven individuals went 2-1 in singles play and two of the four doubles teams posted records of 2-1.
"The team was very determined this weekend, almost too determined the first match because we let the nerves get the best of us in a few matches," said women's head coach Brenda Vlasak. "Our doubles performance wasn't the best but after we reevaluated our basic doubles strategies and worked on a few simple things, the team bounced back the last day with everyone winning the doubles point."
After dropping their first match of the tournament, junior Jennifer Buchanan, freshman Chrissie Hoolahan and senior Jennifer Whateley all bounced back to win their next two matches.
Buchanan and Whateley should have met in the fifth-place match in A finals, but the matches were rearranged so teammates didn't have to face each other. Whateley swept Kelsie Olsen from Nebraska-Omaha in the final match, while Buchanan won a hard-fought three-set match over South Dakota's Nasenbeny.
"I was proud of Jenny Whateley's performance this weekend and feel like she has still has some of her best tennis ahead of her this spring," said Vlasak.
In flight B, sophomore Elizabeth Tapia took third place, while sophomore Stephanie Catlin was again the product of matches being rearranged and won in straight sets in the finale. In flight C, junior Adriana Nieto dropped just one game, but lost a tiebreaker in the first set to finish fourth.
Freshman Chrissie Hoolahan placed fifth and sophomore Taylor Schumacher finished second in Flight E singles.
In doubles, Whateley and Tapia finished third in Flight A, while Hoolahan and Catlin placed seventh. In Flight B, Buchanan and Nieto were fifth in Flight B.
"Everyone proved that they are capable of great things as a team and we are excited to see what the spring will bring," said Vlasak. "I was pleased with our overall performance and feel like we finished our fall invitationals on a strong note."