Lady Blues land No. 1 seed in North Central Region

Nathan Miller

No matter how hard you train, you’re bound to have a bad day.

The No. 25 Lady Blues tennis team, after finishing the season undefeated, finally had their bad day in the worst of times, the finals of the MIAA conference title, losing the championship to Emporia State 5-2.

“I think the girls’ problem was sooner or later they were going to have a bad day,” said Jennifer Hastert, head tennis coach. “Their bad day just happened to come against Emporia. Emporia just matches up with us at every level and to have a bad day against them, it’s going to be awfully tough to beat them.”

The Lady Blues beat Emporia State earlier in the year on April 4 5-4 for the first time in two years. The victory was one of 19 on the year and things were looking up, as the Lady Hornets were the team to beat.

However, the pain in the Lady Blues neck from last year returned. After losing so many splits last year, Hastert cited doubles play as the main problem, which has been the main focus for the Lady Blues all year.

But in the conference final, the Lady Blues were unable to produce in doubles starting behind 2-1 against the Lady Hornets. That left the Lady Blues with almost an impossible task of taking 4-of-6 singles matches, which on a bad day against an equally competitive team, was impossible.

Despite not securing the conference title for the third-straight year, the Lady Blues have something to look forward to this weekend as they secured the No. 1 seed in the North Central Regional. The No. 1 seed earns the right to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Washburn tennis courts will be busy this weekend as the Bods tennis team earned the No. 1 seed as well. The Bods and Lady Blues have been dominant in the past, but rarely in the same year. This year is different with both teams, finishing the season with a combined three losses, they are on a roll and have a good chance of going deep into the NCAA tournament.

“I think we’re both just playing with a lot of confidence this year,” said Brad Johnson, junior. “This year a big thing has been that we’ve learned not only how to win but to have fun while doing it.”

The Lady Blues will face their first round opponent Winona State 1 p.m. Thursday. The Warriors are just 7-17 on the season and the Lady Blues defeated Winona 9-0 March 11.

The second round matchup, noon Friday, is when the Lady Blues might run into some trouble. The Lady Blues will face the winner of Northwest Missouri vs. North Dakota. The Lady Blues managed to get an upperhand in a split April 19 beating Northwest 5-4. The Lady Blues were only able to secure one doubles win in the victory, having to win 4-of-6 single matches to win.

North Dakota, however. will be a new face. The Fighting Sioux are 17-1 on the season and making their sixth-straight NCAA Regional appearance. The winner will advance to the National tournament in Altamonte Springs, Fla. May 9.