Bods fall in championship match

Golden Blue Senior Diana Goldsmith backhands a return Saturday at the MIAA Championships. Goldsmith won her No. 1 singles match 6-0, 6-3 against Northwest Missouri’s Kristina Vucenov but her team fell to the Bearcats 5-3 in the semifinals

Nathan Miller

Despite limping into Sunday’s championship match, the Bods gave themselves a chance at a third-straight MIAA championship. But chance was not on the Bods’ side Sunday as they fell to Southwest Baptist 5-1.

“We put ourselves in a good position to win it again,” said senior Nathan Martin. “But you have to give credit to SBU. They came out ready to play and they were better than us today.”

The Bods trailed 2-1 after doubles play. Both the No. 1 and No. 2 double teams were up 5-4 before letting the lead slip away.

“All three teams came out ready and pumped up to play,” said Martin. “We came out with the lead but I really don’t know if we let up a little bit or SBU just suddenly brought their game.”

Sunday’s match had important implications for the North Central regional seeding, which will be released this week. Going into the weekend the No. 2 Bods trailed Southwest Baptist but were ahead of the No. 3 Northwest Missouri State Bearcats. The top seed determines who will host the regional May 9-10. The regional decides who advances to the national tournament in Houston, Texas.

“Everybody wanted to win this, so we’re pretty down right now,” said Martin. “We’ll take a day off and then we’ll practice hard these next two weeks.”

The Bods defeated Emporia State 5-0 Saturday to advance to Sunday’s championship final. Washburn earned the right to play Emporia after winning a coin flip Friday night that broke the three-way tie between it, Southwest Baptist and Northwest Missouri, giving the Bods the No. 1 seed.

“It feels really good to win the coin flip this time around,” said senior Rutger Vliegenberg. “I really feel good to be back. My ankle didn’t hurt much, except one time in the doubles match.”

Vliegenberg returned to the court Saturday for the first time after suffering an ankle fracture when playing intramural soccer just weeks prior. Vliegenberg stepped in to play No. 2 singles, defeating Kent Grossling 6-3, 6-2 and picked up another victory, 8-5, at the No. 1 doubles spot with senior partner Andrew Plum.

“I didn’t force myself too much today,” said Vliegenberg. “I have a little bit more faith in my forehand. If I have to push myself I hope the adrenaline will take the pain away.”

The Lady Blues also defeated Emporia State this weekend in women’s quarterfinals action. The Lady Blues defeated Emporia State 5-4 Saturday to advance to the evening’s semifinal against No. 31 Northwest Missouri. The win comes after losing to Emporia State 6-3 two weeks ago.

But Saturday night’s semifinal ended the Lady Blues run, falling to No. 31 Northwest Missouri 5-3. The Lady Blues led 2-1 after doubles play, but just after singles play started to get on its way play was halted because of rain. The matches were moved from Kossover Tennis Center to indoor courts at the Topeka Country Club. The Lady Blues lost four of the five singles matches played.

Senior Diana Goldsmith was the only Lady Blue to win a singles match. Goldsmith, ranked No. 40 in the country, defeated No. 30 Kristina Vucenov 6-0, 6-3.