Schulz Leads Women’s Tennis At USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships

Posted on September 27th, 2015 by

Michaela Schulz made her second straight appearance in the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional singles semifinals. (Photo courtesy of Blake Dirks)

For complete results and photos from the weekend, visit the tournament website.

ST. PETER, Minn. – Members of the Gustavus Adolphus women’s tennis team competed in the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships and the Gustavus Fall Invitational held this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Gustavus Adolphus College. More than 200 of the top players from the Midwest took part in the two tournaments.

“This was a great weekend for us,” said Coach Jon Carlson. “We had a lot of awesome wins and a lot of ‘almosts’. The exciting thing is that you can truly see the team improving on the court and developing a bond off of it. This is such a great weekend for both of those things, and I think as a unit, we accomplished a lot.”

Eight Gusties competed in the tournament’s main singles draw, including senior Sid Dirks (St. Peter, Minn.), juniors Michaela Schulz (Elk River, Minn.) and Cal Carlson (St. Peter, Minn.), sophomores Katie Aney (Rochester, Minn.), Ally Baker (Rosemount, Minn.), Taylor Shortly (Lindstrom, Minn.), and first-years Briana Hartmann (Owatonna, Minn.) and Lilly Hartman (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). Schulz and Dirks were two of 24 players that were seeded in a singles draw that featured 93 players. Schulz was the No. 3 seed, while Dirks was No. 23.

Schulz led the way for Gustavus, as she earned a place in the singles tournament’s semifinals for the second consecutive year. The Elk River native began her tournament with four straight set victories to earn a place in the final four where she was matched up with the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Megan Humphreys of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. In a match that Carlson called, ‘one of the most entertaining I’ve seen in a long time at the Division III level,’ Schulz came up just short in a 6-2, 6-7 (5), 1-6 loss to the eventual tournament champion.

“Michaela is playing a very high level of tennis,” said Carlson. “Both she and Megan were bringing out the best in each other, which was a lot of fun to witness. Michaela, while disappointed in the final result, is also excited knowing she’s playing the best tennis of her life and that there’s still more room to keep improving.”

“For me, it’s about the process and not so much the result,” said Schulz. “It’s about competing your hardest, emptying the tank, and playing for the team and Gustavus as a whole. I competed at a level I’m proud of and have not yet achieved until today, and now I’m motivated to get even better and keep working hard for the spring.

I am so thankful for my teammates and coaches as well,” added Schulz. “We are one family and today was an amazing reminder that once I step off the court, there is so much more to the sport I love. I may have lost in the semis, but I’ve gained so much more from today than I ever could have asked for.”

Gustavus also had five teams compete in the main doubles draw, including the combinations of Schulz/Baker, Dirks/Aney, Hartmann/Hartman, Carlson/Caitlin Steffen (Fy., Baxter, Minn.), and Shortly/Riley Abeyesekera (Jr., Brooklyn Park, Minn.). Schulz and Baker were one of 12 teams to be seeded in the draw that featured 53 total tandems.

Schulz/Baker and Dirks/Aney led the Gusties by making appearances in the quarterfinals. Shortly/Abeysekera also turned heads in their ITA debuts, as they earned two victories, including an upset of the draw’s No. 8-seeded team.

Gustavus will be back in action once more this fall when it travels to Omaha, Nebraska next Friday for the University of Nebraska-Omaha Invitational that will feature competition against several Division I opponents.

 

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