The Mustangs punched their ticket to the NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championships with a 5-3 victory against Nebraska Wesleyan in the GPAC Tournament Championship Match. Photo / Kevin Pottebaum

Megan Carlson

Katie Hanson

Morningside College earned a spot in the 2016 NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championships when it defeated Nebraska Wesleyan University 5-3 in the championship match of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Tennis Tournament on Saturday in Fremont, Neb.

The Mustangs won their 11th dual in a row and will take a 13-2 record into the national tourney slated for May 17-21 in Mobile, Ala. Morningside qualified for the NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championships for the second time in school history. The Mustangs made their national tournament debut in 2014.

Morningside trounced Nebraska Wesleyan 8-1 earlier in the week on Monday in Sioux City to wrap up the GPAC regular season championship with a perfect 8-0 league record, but had to come from behind in Saturday’s GPAC tourney title match after the Prairie Wolves opened a 2-1 advantage after the doubles matches.

Aileen Fuchs, a freshman from Munster, Germany, and Megan Carlson, a junior from Cherokee, Iowa, combined for the Mustangs’ only doubles win with an 8-2 triumph against the Prairie Wolves’ tandem of Bridget McKeegan and Madi Hinshaw to keep their season’s record undefeated at 14-0.

Katie Hanson, a senior from Saint Peter, Minn., had the Mustangs’ most lopsided victory in the singles competition with a 6-0, 6-0 shutout win against Natalie Cech in the second flight.

Cassie Stanek, a junior from Sioux City, raised her season’s record to 16-1 with a 6-4, 6-0 win against Bridget McKeegan in the third flight and Natasha Hongsermeier, a junior from Phillips, Neb., also climbed to 16-1 with a 6-4, 6-2 victory against Jaime Bridges in the sixth flight.

Carlson scored the decisive victory with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph against Torey Kogel in the fifth flight to put the Mustangs over the top at 5-3.

Fuchs, who leads the Mustangs with a 19-1 record, was winning her match in the No. 1 singles flight against Nebraska Wesleyan’s Katherine Ternent when play ended.

Box Score