Bods, Blues tennis teams fall to Bearcats

Nathan Miller

Maybe it was the dreary weather, but something just wasn’t right for the No. 24 Bods tennis team Wednesday. It was a day filled with frustration and angst as Washburn fell 5-4 to its MIAA rivals, No. 26 Northwest Missouri.

“Some of our guys, including me, got frustrated today,” said Rutger Vliegenberg, senior. “Those little things make all the difference. But next time we just have to go out and stay cool.”

After gaining a 2-1 advantage in doubles play, the Bods felt the wheel of momentum turn as they dropped three of the next five single matches, setting up the No. 4 spot, junior Bod Drew Hanson, against Bearcat Felipe Gennari to decide the match.

Hanson clinched the first set, 6-2, but Gennari battled his way back in the second, 6-2, to set up a tiebreaker. Hanson had the opportunity to clinch the match with a 5-4 lead but Gennari remained a thorn, tying it at five apiece and then taking the lead for good, 7-5.

“On any given day it could be 5-4 for one team and 5-4 for the other,” said Jennifer Hastert, head coach. “We could play them tomorrow and it could be the exact opposite outcome.”

Washburn had a four-game winning streak going into Wednesday, including a 5-4 win over No. 23 Southwest Baptist. The Bods’ (7-4, 1-1 MIAA) schedule now cools down a bit after playing five top 30 squads the past month. They won’t have another opportunity to play a ranked opponent until the MIAA tournament.

“We’ve had some injuries anyway, so it will give us some time to get rest and recoup for the tournament,” said Hastert. “I usually try to do that; a lot of teams do the opposite, but doing it this way has worked out for us the past two years.”

The Bods will take on Emporia State Wednesday. They haven’t lost to the Hornets in eight years.

“I don’t think we should look at the statistics,” said Vliegenberg. “We should just come out and focus on ourselves and do what we can to beat them.”

The Bods finish up the week with weekend match play against Truman State and St. Cloud State.

Lady Blues ready for ESU The Lady Blues also struggled against the Bearcats Wednesday, dropping 7-2. The loss snapped a four-match win streak. The Lady Blues will also take on Emporia State Wednesday.

“Emporia has always had a tough team,” said Hastert. “I’m sure it will be a tight match for us, so we’ll have to be prepared.”

The Lady Hornets were the favorites to take the conference this year but have fallen to Southwest Baptist and Truman State 5-4 in the last several weeks.

Hastert to leave after season Hastert has decided to step down as head coach at the end of the season to take care of an expected child in August and her 4-year-old son. The players have been aware of the departure the whole semester, and Washburn is currently looking to fill Hastert’s spot.

“It’s going to be sad because I’m leaving too,” said Vliegenberg. “I’ve been with her here for four years and it was fun. She is ready to move on to the next step in her life.”