by Tiffany Stubbs
The UNW men and women’s tennis teams are entering into crunch time as the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) tournament is right around the corner and will take place May 6th.
The women’s team was selected to share the 2016 UMAC regular season title with the College of St. Scholastica in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll. UNW hoped to look to build on last year’s success, as the Eagles turned in a record-setting season, in which they took home the UMAC regular season and tournament titles. With UNW’s 18 victories in 2015, the Eagles qualified for the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) tournament. The Eagles brought back a lot of experience this year and hoped that would lead them to another successful season—and it has.
Within conference they are 7-1, and they have already achieved multiple awards. Karen Moe, Rachel Bostrom and Madeline Scanlan have earned UMAC Player of the Week awards. Moe also earned the NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week Award. Coach Matt Swigart achieved his 100th win at Northwestern on April 9.
Moe said, “Coach Swigart is the best. He is a man of God, first and foremost. He cares about us as followers of Jesus before he cares about us as tennis players, yet he is still a competitor and pushes us to play to the best of our abilities and beyond. We are very blessed as a team to have him.”
This year the team has experienced a lot of growth. Moe said, “We have faced various forms of adversity as a team this season, but it has been awesome seeing specific players overcome those obstacles and seeing how we have grown as a team because of them. We are looking forward to applying that growth on the court as we head into the Conference Tournament next weekend.”
The women’s biggest competition is St. Scholastica as well. Moe said, “They beat us at the beginning of the season, so we are excited to have another chance to play them on Saturday and hopefully next weekend in the tournament.”
The men’s team is currently 11-13 overall and 7-1 in conference play. They have also achieved many UMAC Player of the Week awards by CJ Lloyd, Derek Williams, Landon Ridpath and Cameron Fair. Lloyd also received the NCCAA D1 Student-Athlete of the Week Award. The team was selected as the preseason favorite in the UMAC after having a successful season last year (a conference record of 7-3) with three freshman: Josh Kimball, CJ Lloyd and Brett Jacobus being named to the UMAC All-Conference team after taking second place in the league’s postseason tournament.
Kimball said, “We have a deep line-up this year and have a team that is playing good tennis top to bottom. This year we are a more competitive team, and we have a young team that has a lot of potential to grow over the next two years together. St. Scholastica will be our hardest competition coming up, but we are taking it one match at a time to prepare for the conference tournament.”