Washburn tennis teams remain undefeated in the MIAA after dominating conference play last week.
The men’s team took its competition on the road and faced Nebraska-Omaha on Friday, sweeping the Mavericks 9-0. They then traveled to Northwest Missouri State on Saturday and won 7-2, sweeping the singles matches 6-0. The key victories gave coach Dave Alden a better sense of where the team will stand in post-season play.
“In the conference, they were big wins, and regionally they were big wins because they should help move us up [in the standings],” said Alden.
For the Lady Blues, competition began Wednesday with a 9-0 sweep over Missouri Western State. They joined the men’s team on the road Friday with a match up against Nebraska-Omaha, where they pulled off a close 5-4 win over the Mavericks. The team then closed the weekend on Saturday with another 5-4 victory against Northwest Missouri State.
After facing one of the toughest weeks of the season, Coach Alden was proud of the way the women’s team performed.
“The girls played really well,” said Alden. “Northwest has not lost to anybody in the conference, so it was a really big win for us. The women played exceptionally well in that match.”
One of the key players for the women’s team has been junior-college transfer Trang LeNguyen. So far this season, LeNguyen has remained perfect in singles conference play at 4-0, with an overall record of 13-3. She’s also maintained a solid doubles record, going 3-1 in the conference and 10-3 overall.
For Coach Alden, LeNguyen’s presence on the young team may be the factor that has ultimately contributed to much of the team’s success.
“Every day she brings great energy and really helps pick up girls when they’re down or not playing as well,” said Alden. “She’s always very supportive. She’s been a leader on and off the court.”
LeNguyen also understands what role she plays on the team as the only non-freshman and embraces the opportunity to be a leader for her teammates.
“My team has given me the nickname ‘Mama Trang’ because I always talk with everyone and try to help them learn something from every match,” said LeNguyen. “I try to help them understand that when we win or lose, we do it as a team.”
The Lady Blues and Ichabods look to continue their success in upcoming matches, especially against conference rival Southwest Baptist, which they’ll meet on Saturday in Bolivar, Mo. Alden hopes that his teams will be able to withstand the pressure of holding perfect conference records.
“We’re in a position that since we have not lost a conference match yet, we have a target on our backs, so it’ll be interesting to see how we respond,” said Alden. “Southwest Baptist, because of the rivalry, will fight, so we need to maintain our focus and bring our best game.”