Despite a rough start to the 2005 campaign, the Nebraska Wesleyan tennis teams refused to throw in the towel. The men started 1-3 and the women lost nine of their first 10 matches, but both teams rebounded and nearly accomplished their goals.
“The main goals for both teams this year were to win conference and qualify for nationals,” head coach Dr. Rick Harley said.
Behind the leadership of seniors Abbey Peterson and Amy Schmidt, the NWU women fell just short in both cases, losing in the NAIA Region IV championship match and tying for second in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Nebraska Wesleyan lost to the University of Sioux Falls 5-1 in both the conference tournament and regional championships.
The Prairie Wolves finished the season with an overall record of 11-12 and a 5-2 mark in league play. Kylie Fisher was named First Team All-Conference in singles, while Lauren Pfister and Schmidt garnered Second Team honors. Peterson and Alex Yeagley were named Honorable Mention.
In doubles, Fisher and Pfister were named First Team All-Conference, while Schmidt-Yeagley earned Second Team honors, and the team of Peterson and Ashton Sandy were named Honorable Mention. Schmidt, who went 16-5 in singles matches and 13-9 in doubles play, became Nebraska Wesleyan’s all-time leader in career singles wins (59) and career doubles wins (53) for the women.
“Amy Schmidt showed she just did not want to lose down the stretch and led very well by example,” Harley said.
The NWU men, who posted records of 14-15 overall (6-1 GPAC), claimed conference runner-up honors and met a fate similar to the women, falling one match short of the national tournament. After defeating Friends University 5-4 in the regional semifinal, Bethany College (Kan.) dashed the men’s hopes with a 5-1 win. Andy Huls pulled off the lone victory for the Prairie Wolves, winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.
Huls was named All-GPAC First Team in singles, while sophomores Nick Eker and Zac Kerr were named to the Second Team. Nate Anderson, Eric Tesmer, and Grant Johnson were named Honorable Mention.
In doubles, Huls and Johnson were named First Team All-Conference, while the teams of Eker-Kerr and Anderson-Tesmer were named Honorable Mention. Huls was also named the GPAC Men’s Player of the Year and established new career records at NWU for most singles victories (68) and most doubles victories (63).
“I was extremely proud of both teams this year,” Harley said. “They competed well against some very good teams and never let down their intensity during a long season.”
Final 2005 GPAC Tennis Standings
Men GPAC Overall
Sioux Falls 7-0 18-8
Nebraska Wesleyan 6-1 14-15
Hastings 5-2 9-4
Concordia 4-3 7-5
Dordt 3-4 9-10
Morningside 2-5 6-6
Midland Lutheran 1-6 3-11
Doane 0-7 0-8
Women GPAC Overall
Sioux Falls 7-0 18-5
Nebraska Wesleyan 5-2 11-12
Hastings 5-2 9-5
Midland Lutheran 5-2 10-6
Dordt 3-4 11-9
Concordia 2-5 5-7
Morningside 1-6 1-10
Doane 0-7 0-8