Blugolds capture title in Wisconsin Final Four

Story by Taylor Kuether

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For the first time since 2003, the Blugold men’s tennis team endured its first defeat by UW-La Crosse Friday with the narrow margin of 4-5. The Blugolds redeemed themselves on Saturday, however, reclaiming their season of multiple victories with a final score of 9-0 against UW-Oshkosh and 7-2 against UW-Whitewater.

“We had some ups and downs for sure, but we were willing to battle and bounce back all weekend,” coach Tom Gillman said of the team’s performance over the weekend. “The way we came out and played on Saturday was really inspiring after a disappointing Friday.”

While Friday’s meet was ultimately lost, there were some victories along the way. Junior Eric Wollum and sophomore Dirk Van Rybroek claimed the only doubles win the team saw that day, with a score of 9-8 against their La Crosse opponents in the No. 3 match.

Wollum, sophomore Chris Kuna and senior Kevin Fawcett also picked up wins for the team in singles play on Friday. After losing the first set 3-6, Kuna won the next two 6-1, 6-2 to win the No. 1 match for the Blugolds.

The team’s loss to La Crosse was unexpected, Fawcett said, but “to their credit, they played very well against us.”

Saturday, however, proved to be much more successful.

“On Saturday, during our matches against Oshkosh and Whitewater, every single person on our team brought their best game,” Fawcett said. ÿ

Senior Phil Loprinzi, junior Lars Olson, Fawcett and Wollum all beat both their Oshkosh and Whitewater opponents in singles play. Freshman Florent Marco and Kuna also defeated the Oshkosh Titans in their singles matches. The team performed well in doubles, as well; Kuna and Loprinzi beat Whitewater with a large margin of 8-2.

“As a senior, I have been waiting four years to beat Whitewater, so it was a great victory,” Fawcett said. The Blugolds had not beaten the Warhawks since 2003.

“It was a very big win for our team,” he said.ÿ

Up next for the Blugolds is a meet this weekend against the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) at home. The following week, the men face Luther College (Iowa), which was ranked at No. 7 by the April 13 rankings of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Gillman said Luther could pose a significant challenge.

“My hope is that we play a complete match the way we did against Whitewater,” he said. “We have confidence this year against the top teams, and that really helps, but you have to play a complete match.”

Fawcett, however, viewed the challenge slightly differently.

“The match we are most looking forward to is against Luther,” he said.ÿ”They are a tough team, so it should be a fun match.”

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