Augustana and North Central prove no match for men’s tennis

Story by Ben Rueter

Over the weekend, the Blugold men’s tennis team picked up two more victories over North Central College (Ill.) and Augustana College (Ill.) with both matches ending 6-3.

“We played very different teams this week. Each overly invigorated,” head coach Tom Gillman said.

These wins over both Illinois schools push the Blugolds to 20-2 this season and holding their regional ranking at 14.

“Our confidence has improved and we’ve found fortitude in the team,” coach Gillman said.

The Blugolds struggled in their doubles matches over the weekend winning only two out of their six matches. Those two wins came from the duo of junior Dirk Van Rybroek and senior Eric Wollum with an 8-1 finish and partners sophomore Florent Marco and freshman Ryan Vande Linde, who completed their doubles match with an 8-5 victory.

“We feel good and it offered us a challenge,” said coach Gillman about the doubles matches for the day.

In the doubles matches against Augustana, junior Chris Kuna and partner senior Lars Olson fell 9-8. Wollum and Rybroek lost 8-6. Marco and Linde also were defeated 9-8.
Coach Gillman said that the team is looking to improve partnering in doubles so that they can avoid losses, like those found this weekend.

“We were slow on doubles so we had to fight back,” said Wollum.

The team fought back hard by winning all of their singles matches against Augustana.

Marco went 6-3 and 6-3, while Wollum finished with 6-2 and 6-4 victories against Augustana. Robertson also won all of his games against Augustana going 6-1 and 6-3.

“We all stayed really strong and positive,” said Marco about the Blugold’s singles matches.

The Blugolds lost only two singles matches against North Central College during the day.

Marco won again, this time 6-1 and 7-5 in his matches. Wollum continued his sweep with two more wins going 6-0 and 6-1.

“This was the first time we’ve played outside this season,” said Wollum. He and other teammates added that the wind played a factor throughout the day and that they had to adjust to compensate for the elements.

Robertson kept his winning streak alive against North Central College ending up with 6-2 and 6-3 victories.

By the end of the day, in singles matches, Wollum, Marco, and Robertson won all of their singles matches for the day.

“We have big matches next week. It may propel us into the nationals,” said Wollum.

Gillman said that he hopes the team can get a better start on doubles looking forward to next week’s matches.

Next weekend, the Blugold mens’ tennis team will be on the road and up against Luther College (Iowa) and Cornell College (Iowa) in Decorah, Iowa. The matches will be held at 9 a.m. next Saturday morning.