Koepfer aces competetition, makes history

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Koepfer aces competetition, makes history

Koepfer InfoGraphic

Koepfer InfoGraphic

Koepfer InfoGraphic

Koepfer InfoGraphic

Jordan Figueredo, Print Sports Editor

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Game. Set. Match. National Title.

Senior Dominik Koepfer served his way into history books and became the first player in the Tulane tennis program’s history to win a National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship and the first to win a national tournament singles championship since 1955.

This past fall, Koepfer reached the semifinals of the Oracle Master’s Tournament before he fell to tournament champion, No. 15 Cameron Norrie of TCU, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. 

Koepfer was also the first Tulane tennis player to make it to this tournament since 2004 as well as the first competitor to reach quarterfinals of ITA All-American Championship and semifinals of National Indoor championships in the same calendar year.

In the ITA tournament, Koepfer was just shy of a championship suffering a 6-0, 6-2 loss to Virginia’s Thai-Son Kwiatkowski.  

After being so close to victory several times, he finally edged past the competition and achieved victory.

“I got stronger, I got faster, I got fitter than I ever had been in the past just because we practiced every day one or twice a day,” Koepfer said in a previous interview with The Hullabaloo. “Playing every day gave me a lot of confidence in my strokes.”

On Sunday morning in Flushing, New York, the No. 10 preseason Koepfer defeated No. 22 Andrew Goransson of California, 6-1, 7-5 finally tasting victory after being so close in past seasons.

Koepfer didn’t let the nerves or pressure deter him and remained focused on reaching a personal goal and bringing home the gold for Tulane.

“I just kept it together, played my game and remained focused on every point,” Koepfer said.

Koepfer had a 5-0 lead in the opening set, taking it 6-1. The second set was more back and forth, holding a 5-5 tie. Koepfer then earned the biggest break of his career, going up 6-5, prior to taking the set 7-5 on a serve.

Fierce competitors surrounded this path to a national championship, yet Koepfer was able to take them all down in straight sets.

“We are so proud of how Dom competes for Tulane and represents us on and off the court,” head coach Mark Booras said. “It’s pretty special to have an opportunity to compete for a national championship. That’s one heck of a jump and a testament to how hard he as worked since he got to Tulane.”

This championship concluded fall tournament play. Koepfer and the rest of the Green Wave will have some time off before spring dual play with a home doubleheader on Jan. 16. The team’s first match is set at 10 a.m. against Jackson State followed by a 2 p.m. match against Alcorn State.

Koepfer’s new singles rankings will be released Jan. 5 as the ITA releases its first 2016 national rankings.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of Dominik and how happy I am for him,” Booras said. “He has worked relentlessly since he got here to develop more and more each year. He has seen some ups and downs, been with our team through some tough times and helped lead us to where we are now.”