Men’s tennis has been gearing up all year for their biggest meet of the year: the CCIW conference tournament. Their first game will be at 10 a.m. this Thursday against Elmhurst College at home.
Although the team’s game on Sunday against Luther College was canceled due to the rain, that didn’t dampen men’s tennis head coach Jon Miedema excitement for the CCIW Tournament.
“We’re at the very end of our season now so I’m looking forward to our conference championships and our team putting itself in position to be there in the championship on Saturday,” said Miedema.
Senior captain Connor Woolf said the team has a good chance this year of winning the tournament. He said they are coming in as the second seed in the tournament thanks to their 6-1 CCIW record.
“We are motivated underdogs that just came off two big wins over the weekend (of the 23rd),” Woolf said.
The team solidified their second seed after two close finishes where they narrowly defeated Carthage College and Carroll University 5-4 in both of their matches. The Vikings were able to culminate their season on those two high notes since the Luther match was canceled and finished the regular season 12-9.
Coming into the game against Elmhurst with a team that has went 6-1 in their past seven games will help with what Miedema wants the team for the team during the tournament: to stay energized, focused and diligent in and off the court in order to win.
The Vikings may have an easier time getting to the next round as they defeated Elmhurst earlier this year in a 9-0 sweep.
If the team defeats Elmhurst, Woolf believes Wheaton College will be the next large obstacle to the championship title.
Wheaton was the only CCIW team to defeat the Vikings this season, but it was in the most devastating fashion as Wheaton defeated the Vikings 9-0 on the Augustana courts.
In addition, Wheaton has been a team that Augustana has historically stuggled against as the Vikings hold a 19-44 record against Wheaton. Woolf said the struggle has been the same for this year.
“The biggest challenge will be beating Wheaton, who is the no. 1 seed,” said Woolf. “They have had an impressive season and will be a tough team to beat. That being said if we keep working hard and playing our game, I think we will put ourselves in a good position to beat them and win conference.”
If the Vikings were to win the conference tournament, it would soldify a national tournament bid. It would also be the first time the Vikings have finished first in the conference since 1984.
But Miedema thinks his team can do it.
“I believe in this team,” he said proudly.