Men’s tennis wins eighth straight in St. Paul
The UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team continued to dominate its opponents over the weekend after beating the Northwestern College Eagles (Minn.) and Augustana College Vikings (Ill.) 9-0 at the Ade Olson Courts on Friday and on Saturday after defeating Bethel University (Minn.) 6-3 and Hamline University (Minn.) 7-2 at Lifetime Fitness.
The wins move the team to 22-7 on the year and extend its dual meet consecutive victories to eight.
“Our team played really, really well,” junior Kevin Fawcett said. “We stepped up. It was a challenging match, but we stepped up and played really well.”
On Friday in the singles competitions against the Eagles, the Blugolds swept the matches. Freshman Dirk Van Rybroek won the No. 1 spot with scores of 6-2 and 6-3 while sophomore Aaron Johnson took the No. 2 spot with 6-1 and 6-3 scores. In the No. 3 match, sophomore Chris Thornton won with scores of 6-1 and 6-0 while the No. 4 spot was handled by sophomore Mike Olson, who won the competition with scores of 6-0 and 6-0. The No. 5 spot was won with scores of 6-2 and 6-0 by freshman David Kelley, and the No. 6 spot was won by freshman Willie Lutz with scores of 6-2 and 6-1.
In singles against the Vikings, the Blugolds again took every spot. Senior Steve Lantz won the No. 1 spot with scores of 6-3 and 6-1 while sophomore Lars Olson was victorious at the No. 2 spot with scores of 6-4 and 6-2. The No. 3 spot was played by junior Phil Loprinzi, who won with both scores being 6-0. Junior Kevin Fawcett triumphed at the No. 4 spot with scores of 6-2 and 6-4, while freshman Chris Kuna won the No. 5 spot with scores of 6-3 and 6-4. The No. 6 spot played by sophomore Eric Wollum was won with scores of 6-1 and 6-1.
In the doubles competition against the Eagles, the Blugolds dominated the courts again. The No. 1 pair of sophomore Brett Burleigh and Olson won 8-3, while the No. 2 pair of freshman Matt Hambidge and Thornton won 8-1. The No. 3 doubles team of freshman Jeff Liegel and junior Brian Mixtacki went undefeated with an 8-0 win.
In the doubles competition against the Vikings, the Blugolds took all three matches. Lantz and Lorpinzi won the No. 1 doubles match 8-5 while Kuna and Lars Olson triumphed in the No. 2 doubles match 8-6. The No. 3 team of Fawcett and Van Rybroek took its match 9-8 and 8-6 to give the Blugolds the sweep of Augustana.
Fawcett said two matches are typically played in a single weekend, but the team was ready to go out again on Saturday and play hard.
“You are always tired the next day,” Fawcett said. “But you have to get out there and play your best.”
And for the most part, they did. On Saturday, Johnson, Loprinzi and Kuna all recorded two singles wins on the day. Against Bethel, Loprinzi won 6-2, 6-3, while he won 6-0, 6-2 against Hamline at No. 3. In the No. 4 spot, Kuna won 6-1, 6-4 against Bethel and 6-0, 6-2 against Hamline. Johnson picked up a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Bethel and 6-1, 6-3 win against Hamline in the No. 6 spot. Fawcett was the other Blugold to win against Bethel with a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the No. 5 spot. Olson won in the No. 2 spot 6-1, 6-2 against Hamline, as did sophomore Eric Wollum with a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 5.
The Blugolds also won two out of three doubles matches in each meet. Senior Steve Lantz and Loprinzi won 9-8 (9-7) at No. 1 doubles against Bethel, while Fawcett and Rybroek also won against Bethel in the No. 3 spot 8-6. Against Hamline, Loprinzi and Lantz won 8-1, while Kuna and Olson won by the same score at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, respectively.
The team ended the matches just the way they wanted to.
“Our team has always wanted to take the next step forward for the past few seasons,” Fawcett said. “I think this season we are doing it, and we are really excited we are playing a great season.”
Up next for the Blugolds will be three more dual meets to take place in Whitewater. There they will take on UW-La Crosse at 3:30 p.m. on Friday while facing UW-Whitewater at 9 a.m. on Saturday and UW-Oshkosh at 11 a.m. that same day.