Under warm but windy Tulsa skies it was another sunny result for the University of Denver women’s tennis team. The #1 seeded Pios dispatched the upstart Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 5-0 to claim their sixth-straight Summit League tournament win.
“We knew we were going to have to come out and play some good tennis. Overall proud of the way we played,” head coach Christian Bass told a Summit League video crew after the dust settled.
It was UNO’s first finals appearance, but they ultimately couldn’t compete with DU’s firepower.
And with that the #47 Pioneers (17-5, 5-0) will be packing their bags next week to head one of 16 host sites for the NCAA tournament, which gets underway next Friday.
On the court at Oral Roberts Saturday the Pioneers meticulously dispatched Omaha in the doubles to take the first point. DU’s top team of co-captain Bianca Mok and Camille Verden-Anderson won 6-1, with the #2 team of Tatum Burger and Hada Chang winning by the same score.
Bass described her squad as “sharper” Saturday, versus Friday’s semi against South Dakota. While sometimes unfocused doubles play against the Coyotes ultimately didn’t hurt them, they wanted to see improvements in “dubs.” Associate head coach David Loewenthal joked Friday that he and Bass had been making a trip to ORU’s famed prayer tower to pray for better doubles performances.
The singles wins by the Pios were all straight sets, sophomore Anna Riedmiller clinched the fourth and decisive point by sinking Janelle Wilson 6-3, 6-2. As Chang happened to be at match point when that happened she was also credited with a point (as opposed to abandoning the match) to make the final score 5-0.
The NCAA is slated to announce its selections for the women’s team, doubles and singles tournament Monday at 430p MT.
The C&G will be hungry to try and match and even exceed the 2017 team, which upset Southern Cal in the first round of the NCAAs.
The Summit celebration will ultimately be short lived. Bass says more work is needed on double play and other areas of her squad’s game: “we know we have to work on quite a few things”
Worth noting the Summit Championship came extremely close to being an all-DU affair. The #1 seed men’s team fought tough and nail all afternoon with #2 Drake, but Denver’s sophmore Mattia Ros fell in a heartbreaking third set tiebreaker in the final match. Final score: Drake 4, DU 3.
The Bulldogs have now claimed the men’s tourney two years in a row.
The loss likely ends the season for DU head coach Ricardo Rubio’s squad, finishing their year at (13-9, 6-0).