Men’s Tennis defeats rival Coe
The Luther men’s tennis team continued their undefeated streak within the IIAC by handing Coe College their first conference loss of the season this past Friday.
After sweeping doubles and going 4-2 in singles, the Luther Norse walked away victorious at 7-2 overall against their biggest conference rivals bringing their season record to 21-4.
The Luther-Coe men’s tennis rivalry continues to grow as Luther has faced Coe in the finals of the conference tournament the past seven years and left with the championship the last five.
Assistant Coach for the Coe Kohawks, Rob Rye, explains his team’s feelings going into the match.
“If it’s not the championship we try to approach it like any other match, but we know what’s at stake against Luther,” Rye said. “What’s important is seeing how we match up against the team we will probably see in the finals next week.”
This is an impressive victory for the Norse as they were trailing behind the Kohawks in the regional rankings just two weeks back. However Luther recently surpassed Coe and has been dominating its spring schedule, having lost only one match since February where Luther played without its No. 2 Ramesh Karki (‘14) against St. Olaf.
Currently No. 1 for Luther’s men’s team, Scott Sundstrom (‘12) credits the season to their time spent in Orlando, Fla. over spring break.
“We started the season off a little slow, but turned it around in Orlando,” Sundstrom said. “We won every match down there and got a lot better in doubles which has been huge for this season.”
Sundstrom, who has been named IIAC Performer of the Week the past two weeks, attributes his personal success this season to not trying to change his own game too much through the season.
“I don’t go out there with a bunch of different swings. Some guys swing hot and cold and are all over the place, but I stay pretty consistent and it’s helped me throughout the season,” Sundstrom said.
Sundstrom’s idea of not changing too many things is the same idea that Head Coach Adam Strand (‘04) has been trying to extend to the entire team this season.
This being Strand’s first year as head coach after serving as assistant coach to Brian Huinker, Strand wants to transition into his coaching style smoothly.
“Brian and I have enough of the same core values that there have not been too many changes,” Strand said.
With the end of the season quickly approaching and the conference tournament merely days away, Strand sees this concept as more important than ever.
“We’re working on some individual fine tuning and practice competitions, but we won’t change anything this late in the season,” Strand said.
A sixth straight Conference title on the mind brings about the idea of the Norse heading to Nationals for the sixth consecutive year.
“Winning conference means going to nationals so yeah they’re both goals of ours, but conference is what’s on our mind now,” Strand said.
The Norse will head to Iowa City this Friday for two days of tournament play with the IIAC Conference title on the line.