Washburn women’s tennis wins MIAA Tournament

Senior netter Trang Le Nyugen and the Washburn Lady Blues tennis team won the MIAA Tournament this season.

Richard Kelly /

Washburn men’s and women’s tennis were both in the MIAA Tennis Tournament Championship on Sunday. And although only one of them came out victorious, neither team is hanging their head.

After losing to Northwest Missouri State during MIAA regular season play, 6-3, the Lady Blues came out and played strong singles and doubles on their way to avenging that loss by a score of 5-3 and capturing a MIAA Tennis Tournament Championship crown and an automatic NCAA Tournament bid. Washburn dominated the doubles play, with the team of Trang Le Nyugen and Alyssa Castillo picking up an 8-2 victory, followed by Morgan Rainey and Whitley Zitsch capturing an 8-4 victory.

Washburn tennis coach Dave Alden saw that the Lady Blues have made great strides since the beginning of the season from a doubles standpoint and that it showed during the tournament. He also credited the success of the tournament to this area of improvement.

“I think it was the hard work and also the understanding we needed to be truly committed to playing good doubles. We said from the very beginning our matches are often won or lost on how we play doubles,” said Alden.

“There were a few matches we could point to early in the season where we lost because we won zero doubles points. So we went from that stage of the season to playing our conference tournament and going 7-2. That was the number one difference.”

And while the men fell in the finals 5-2, their national rank shined through, in that they too will make the NCAA Tournament. The match with Northwest Missouri was their second of the day, after they had defeated Southwest Baptist 5-2 about three to four hours earlier.

Alden had a thought this might have hindered their play a bit during the championship match.

“We had to play the semifinals and the finals in the same day. That’s a three hour break. It’s competitively next to impossible. You’re somewhat handcuffed going into playing a final like that,” he said.

From this point on, the teams will now rest before beginning the NCAA Tournament in an undecided location next Thursday against undecided teams. Their opponents are expected to be selected today. And for the teams, this is a brand new season from this point on.

“It’s exactly like March Madness. There are 64 teams who make it into the tournament. We’re lucky because the men get the equivalent of an at-large bid and the women get an automatic qualifier,” said Alden. “At this point, everyone’s record turns back to 0-0.”