The South Dakota State women's tennis team lost three third-set super tiebreakers in a 5-2 loss to North Dakota on Friday...
In a meet that could have gone either way, the Jacks came up on the short end, losing three third-set super tiebreakers en route to a 5-2 loss to North Dakota.
The meet was the first of the year for the women's tennis team and first-year head coach Michael Engdahl.
Last season, the Jacks did not record a team point against UND, which made the opening meet more encouraging.
One of the reasons that the meet was close this year was the play of Natalia Medina.
Medina teamed up with Bethany Goeden at No. 3 doubles and won in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (7-0). The win sealed the doubles point for South Dakota State, as Jenny Blackburne and Brooke Henry won at No. 1 doubles, as well.
"Momentum wise it is huge [to score the doubles point], especially when you have a doubles match that goes to 9-8," Engdahl said. "To lose that tiebreaker is a huge momentum killer, or you win it and feel like you won the match going into singles. We have been on both ends, where we feel like we are defeated or we feel like the match is ours."
As if that victory was not enough, Medina won at No. 5 singles in a third-set super tiebreaker. After dropping the opening set 6-2, she responded with a 6-0 second-set win. In the tiebreaker, Medina faced a handful of match points before taking the tiebreaker and the match, 11-9. It was the only singles win for the Jacks.
"Just keep fighting," said Medina. "Our coach always tells us to keep fighting and keep up, keep up, keep up. When you really apply it, it works. I did my best, worked hard and just fought."
Blackburne, Henry and Megan McDougall lost in third-set tiebreakers at No. 2, 3 and 4, respectively.
"I am extremely happy with the way the girls played," Engdahl said. "Everybody fought hard to win every point. It was one of those matches where, a match here or there, it goes our way or their way. It was one of those matches where the good news is it was close, but the bad news is it was close. It was a good effort by the girls."
South Dakota State travels to Omaha, Neb., for the Omaha College Invite this weekend.
"We have to get used to winning," said Engdahl. "We have talent and the work ethic; the girls work hard every day on the court and in the weight room. The talent is there, but we have to get used to winning. That is something that will come. Moving forward, I could not be more excited."