The Cyclone duo competing at the NJCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship in Tyler, Texas, ended its run May 6 after, but the athletes have come away with a positive experience and lessons to take with them for next season.
On what became the final day of competition, at No. 1 singles, Brooke Zielke faced Dayana Ortega from Iowa Central Community College and lost 2-8. Jasmine Abunaim (No. 2 singles) was matched up with Zoe Freke from Meridian Community College and fell 2-8. The duo then lost 3-8 to Georgina Kaindoah and Takalani Molaoa from Cowley College.
After getting out their jitters on the first day of competition, Zielke and Abunaim got into their mental game quicker. Even while playing a higher seeded team at doubles, they brought the heat.
"Their doubles match was definitely the highlight. Many of the games went to multiple deuces, and they stepped up their game to a level they haven't been at before. The team they were facing had a lot of tools in their arsenal, so to speak, but our players did a great job communicating and adjusting. There were multiple points that left me in awe," said Cyclone Head Coach Breanna Vollan.
With these final losses in the consolation bracket, the women had officially ended their run but enjoyed every moment.
"The tournament was a great experience. None of the athletes had the same style of play, which is where this tournament differs from our regionals. It also was interesting to play and talk with the various international players. It was a great learning experience, and hopefully I can utilize the things I learned here for next season," Zielke said.
"The experience was great for the whole team! It really was a wonderful trip," Vollan said. "I met a lot of coaches and made some good connections that will benefit Moraine Valley tennis in the future. It was great to observe other programs as well. The players learned a lot and had some great moments. They also met players from Iowa Central and Mississippi Gulf Coast, which I think was a good way to further build the tennis community."