ORLANDO, Fla. (3/05/20)—After spending their off day at Daytona Beach, Concordia continued their sunny spirit by posting two big wins on a windy and muggy Thursday in Central Florida.
The two victories on the final day of their spring training trip brings their win streak to three and Concordia is now 5-8 on the season.
Concordia 5, Trine 4
Concordia was greeted with their toughest conditions all year with winds hitting upwards of 30 mph under the piercing sun at the USTA national campus on Thursday. The gale-like conditions were reminiscent of sophomore Jeremy Nelson rendition of the Kansas hit song "Dust in the Wind" which he sang on Wednesday night at the Star Island Resort.
The mighty gusts didn't faze senior Carter Steffes who won the deciding singles match to give the Cobbers an exciting 5-4 win over the Thunder.
With the score knotted at 4-4, Steffes' years of experience in the North Dakota wind from his childhood kicked in and he ground out a 6-0, 6-4 win at No.3 singles.
Steffes and the rest of the Cobbers were forced to focus extensively on footwork and mental toughness in the challenging conditions.
The mental toughness paid off for fellow senior Jared Saue who came back from a 5-2 deficit in the first set of his match at No.2 singles to win 7-6 (0). After getting over the hump Saue didn't look back, winning the second set 6-0.
Concordia's other singles win came from Erik Porter who nabbed a confident 6-4, 6-2 win at No.1 singles.
The Cobbers secured their other two wins at the beginning of the match by recording victories at the top two doubles positions.
Saue and David Youngs teamed up for the first time in their collegiate career for a dominating 8-1 win at No.1 doubles.
Some of the most exciting tennis on the day came at No.2 doubles, where Steffes continued his strong day alongside Porter. The two battled back and forth with their opponents, holding their service games with ease while looking for a break. The Cobbers were finally able to get that break at 7-6, giving the senior doubles tandem an 8-6 win and the Cobbers the momentum going into singles play.
Concordia 6, Adrian 3
The match against Adrian was a much-anticipated battle with the team having a 2-year history of playing action-packed, high-energy spring break tennis.
The Cobbers were able to come away with close wins over the Bulldogs in 2018 and 2019 and the 2020 versions would hold true to form as CC ran its win streak to three matches over Adrian.
Concordia continued to use their mental toughness and focus to earn a 6-3 win on the clay courts of the USTA National Campus. It was the identical score from their 2018 match.
There was intense action from the opening serve in doubles play. The dynamic duo of Porter and Saue set the tone for the match as they routed their opponents 8-2 in the No.1 doubles spot. The tandem has a team-best eight doubles wins on the year and is 8-3 for the season.
The No.2 team of Steffes and Cole Gillespie fought for every point in their match. They fell behind 5-2 but then won two straight games to get to within one at 5-4 but couldn't take the lead and lost a tight 8-6 decision.
The No.3 doubles bout would be the catalyst for the momentum in singles play. It would also give one team a 2-1 lead which would be big for the overall team match. Youngs and Grant Storm would need to be at their top of their games as they were making their doubles debut. The two had a spirited practice against a 10U group at the National Tennis Center in order to get used to each other's game.
Unfortunately, the two forgot their game on the practice court and got down early. Facing a 6-3 deficit, Youngs and Storm began to crawl their way back into the match by hitting rock-solid returns and coming up with some John McEnroe-esque net game. The momentum turned in favor of the Cobbers and they were able to tie the match at 7-7. Storm stepped up in the tie-breaker and carried Youngs to a 7-2 victory which earned the 8-7 win in the overall match.
The Cobbers brought the energy from the dramatic doubles win by Youngs and Storm into singles play. Porter got things started with a quick 6-2,6-2 win at the top singles spot. It was Porter's third singles win of the week and gives him six singles wins on the year.
Gillespie continued his hot weekend of singles with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win at No.5singles. The victory was also Gillespie's sixth of the year.
Saue and Youngs were able to scratch out singles wins as rain began to sprinkle the clay courts late into the night. Saue gained a steady 6-2, 6-4 win at No.2 singles while Youngs completed a 6-3, 6-3 win at No.3. Like Porter and Gillespie, Saue now has six wins on the year.
The victory for Youngs was his team-leading eighth of the year. The eight wins is also a career high for the Fargo South product. His previous season best was in 2018 when he came away with seven singles wins. He is now 8-4 on the season and has won six of his last eight bouts.
UP NEXT: Concordia will have little time to get reacclimated with indoor tennis as they will face conference powerhouse Gustavus on Saturday, Mar. 7 at 9 a.m. in St. Peter. The Gusties are currently ranked 15th in Division III in the latest ITA poll.