FARGO, N.D. (3/14/21)---Concordia opened the 2021 season with a tough draw as they faced a pair of opponents who were unbeaten in MIAC play last season and had a combined record of 16-5. The Cobbers fell 8-1 to St. John's on Saturday and then dropped a 9-0 decision to perennial MIAC powerhouse Gustavus.
Concordia, who went 5-9 in the abbreviated season last year, have new players in five of the six starting spots and only have three returning athletes from a year ago. Sophomore Cole Gillespie, who played at No.5 singles last season, is the new No.2 singles player for CC. Senior Jake Peters retains his spot at No.6 singles while sophomore Eli Simonson stays in the No.5 slot.
The Cobbers' lone win of the weekend came from one of the returning trio of players. Peters was able to recover from a 7-5 loss in the opening set of the season against St. John's and rally to win in the super-set tie-breaker. Peters found his groundstrokes in the second set and earned a 6-3 win. He then battled to an 11-9 victory in the super-set. The victory is a 180-degree turn from last year when he lost 6-1, 6-2 to the No.6 player from the Johnnies. The victory was also Peters' sixth of his singles career.
Simonson almost came through with a second singles victory in the season opener on Saturday. He lost in extra points in the super-set. Like Peters, Simonson lost the first set but then roared back to take the second. He fell 6-1 in the opener and won the second set 7-5 behind a solid baseline game. Simonson lost 11-9 in the super-set in a bout that went back-and-forth for the full 20 points.
Peters and Simonson will be teamed up to form the No.3 double squad for CC. They lost 8-4 against St. John's in a match that had many exciting points and turns in momentum.
Concordia's new No.1 singles player is senior Shota Oda. Oda didn't play his first three seasons at Concordia but plays like a college veteran and can play a variety of shots. He lost 6-0, 6-0 on Saturday as he worked out his opening-match nerves.
Oda and Sean Martin are the No.2 doubles team for the Cobbers and they lost 8-2 in the opener.
Martin will play at No.4 singles for Concordia. He lost 6-2, 6-2 in his first match of 2021.
Gillespie and Kipton Jenson round out the Cobber lineup. Gillespie, the early-season No.2 singles player, dropped a 6-1, 6-2 decision on Saturday. Jenson slides into the No.3 singles spot and he fell 6-0, 6-3.
Gillespie and Jensen are the team's No.1 doubles tandem at the start of the year. They lost 8-3 in their first match of the season.
Saturday was a tough climb for the Cobbers. They lost 9-0 to the Gusties and had an uphill battle in all nine matches. The most exciting doubles match of the day came in the No.2 position where Oda and Martin battled through many long points and were finally rewarded with a game late in the set and lost 8-1.
Gillespie and Oda were the only CC players to claim game wins in singles play. Gillespie battled through the entire two sets and lost 6-2, 6-2 at No.2 singles and Oda fell 6-1, 6-1 at No.1 singles.
UP NEXT: Concordia will stay in Fargo for their next two matches. The Cobbers will host St. Thomas on Saturday, Mar. 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Courts Plus and then square off against Bethel at 3:30 p.m.
Saint John's University 8, Concordia-Moorhead 1
Mar 13, 2021 at Fargo, N.D. (Courts Plus)
1. Thomas Gillach (SJU) def. Shota Oda (CC) 6-0, 6-0
2. Wil McDowell (SJU) def. Cole Gillespie (CC) 6-1, 6-2
3. Peyton Fischer (SJU) def. Kipton Jenson (CC) 6-0, 6-3
4. Mason Meyer (SJU) def. Sean Martin (CC) 6-2, 6-2
5. Will Fischer (SJU) def. Eli Simonson (CC) 6-1, 5-7, 11-9
6. Jake Peters (CC) def. Dylan Fyle (SJU) 5-7, 6-3, 11-9
1. Thomas Gillach/Wil McDowell (SJU) def. Cole Gillespie/Kipton Jenson (CC) 8-3
2. Hunter Fischer/Peyton Fischer (SJU) def. Sean Martin/Shota Oda (CC) 8-2
3. Will Deters/Mark Rosen (SJU) def. Jake Peters/Eli Simonson (CC) 8-4
RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Erbert and Gerbert's. The Concordia Athletic Department would like to thank Erb and Gerb's for their longtime commitment to Cobber student/athletes.