It was a clash of two determined women’s tennis opponents, the Augustana Vikings and the Wheaton Thunder, in the final round of the CCIW women’s tennis teams, but the Viking came out on top in a narrow 5-4 victory on Saturday.
The VIkings claimed two top double spot and top three singles wins to earn their bid to the national tournament for the second time in three years.
The two teams have clashed back and forth all year long. In the fall, Wheaton defeated the Vikings 8-1 one week before the CCIW Fall tournament, but the Vikings turned the tables on the Thunder and defeated them 63-62 in the tournament to earn the right to host the CCIW tournament in the spring.
Last year, the Vikings lost to Wheaton 5-4 and were denied their national tournament bid.
Senior Lauren Goggin said the win over Wheaton was monumental for her and the team.
“This bid to the regional tournament meant so much to me. I cried Fridayand Saturday before I played my matches because I thought ‘what if this were my last match of my college career?’ Goggin said. “This season was not meant to be cut short, and I think it is because this team cares so much about each other. We were not just fighting to win our individual matches, but fighting for each of our teammates.”
Lauren and her sister Dana both won their singles and doubles matches, which has increased their winning record. In the number one singles, Lauren improved her record this season to 33-6 and Dana to 26-7 at the number two singles.
Before the tournament, head coach Jon Miedema anticipated the team would make it past Carroll University and play either Wheaton or Carthage in the championships
“Wheaton plays consistent and they’re not gonna make mistakes,” Miedema said before the tournament. “They will be a tough opponent.”
With the win, the VIkings solidiied their bid for the national tournament, which means they’ll play in the regional tournament. From there, the Vikings have to compete with other top teams and individuals in the Midwest region.
No matter what happens, Miedema said he has been happy to be see the team grow this year.
“They’ve (the seniors) done an incredible job as an entire class,” Miedema said. “I don’t want it to be their last moneth because these past four years have been so special.”
Moving forward, Lauren said the goal is to stay positive and confident for nationals.
“My personal goals are the same as my goal going into the qualifier,” Lauren said. “I am confident that I can beat anyone out there if I stay positive and resilient in every match. No one in this tournament is too good and each match will be close on my end.”