Tennis dominates weekend matches

Story by Ben Rueter

The UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team put together a dominant pair of wins at home over Bethel University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) over the weekend.

The team swept both schools 9-0 and didn’t drop a set in either match. These victories have brought the Blugolds to a 5-1 record overall.

During the MSOE match, coach Tom Gillman said that the team was having a good weekend and were ready for their respective matches.

“We’re making an effort to try and do a little better than to just get by and win. We’re approaching it a high level of ambition,” Gillman said.

Every member of the team defeated Bethel by at least three games per set. Seniors Lars Olson and Chris Thornton, along with sophomore Ben Robertson, only lost three total games each.

“My matches today went great,” said Robertson. “I was impressed with them.” He won 6-2, 6-3.

The Blugolds were just as successful against MSOE as they were against Bethel in singles, though most of the sets were closer.

Thornton had the safest win, as he dropped the fewest games with just one loss. The closest set of the singles day was sophomore Florent Marco’s 7-5 win in his first set. However, he handily won his second set 6-0 to take the match.

In doubles against MSOE, the Blugolds racked up three wins. Olson and junior Chris Kuna won 8-2. Marco and freshman Ryan Vande Linde ended the night with an 8-1 victory. To top off the night in doubles, sophomore David Stingley and freshman Bryan Yanagita won 8-3.

Against Bethel, duos Kuna and Olson and Linde and Marco both won 8-3. Senior Eric Wollum and doubles partner junior Dirk Van Rybroek squeezed out a close win 9-8. Overall, Eau Claire has won 17 of their last 18 double matches.

“Team wise, I think we all played good today,” Stingley said, in regards to the doubles victories.

Marco mentioned that one of the challenges of the day was playing on the fast surface on the Olson Indoor Courts in McPhee.

“So far, they’ve handled the challenges pretty well,” coach Gillman said.

The team is feeling confident and prepared for next week, Gillman said. They are working on moving a lot and getting to the ball quicker in practices, which Gillman hopes will benefit the team later in the season.

“We are focused and we are looking at focusing on things we are working on in practice. So we are ready for the bigger matches,” Yanagita said, looking forward to next weekend’s matches.

The team will go on the road and play St. Norbert College at 5 p.m. Friday in Green Bay. The Blugolds will also go up against Northwestern College at 12 p.m. in McPhee on Saturday.