Men’s tennis snags two more wins in Iowa

Men's tennis snags two more wins in Iowa

Story by Haley Zblewski

The UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team took their six-game winning streak to Iowa for a pair of matches on Saturday. The Blugolds won both matches, defeating the University of Loras (Iowa) 9-0 and the University of Dubuque (Iowa) 6-3. The men are now 9-2 on the season.

Coach Tom Gillman said that he really couldn’t have asked for more from the day, especially the 9-0 win against Loras.

“We’re a team with a lot of young, new doubles teams this year and we had a couple of injuries at the beginning of the season, so we started out slow,” Gillman said. “Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve gotten a lot stronger.”

Gillman said that the biggest challenge for the team on Saturday was handling two new playing surfaces.

Junior David Stingley said that the change in surface was a challenge at first.

“(Loras’ court) was actually a basketball court, which is sort of like ours,” Stingley said. “Dubuque was the complete opposite of our courts, extremely slow. It was hard to get used to.”

Along with the difference in surface, Stingley said Dubuque had improved a lot since the Blugolds’ most recent meeting with them.

“They added three or four foreign students who are all very good,” he said. “Their team was tough to beat this year.”

Even though the score may not have shown it, the Blugolds were actually pretty close to losing the match against Dubuque, Stingley said.

“It came down to two (singles) matches, freshman Joey Minear and sophomore Joe Meier,” he said. “If both would have lost, Dubuque would have beat us. But they both pulled it out in the last few minutes and won.”

Meier won his singles match at Dubuque 6-1, 6-1. Minear won his three-set singles match 7-6, 2-6, 6-4.

Two of the Blugolds doubles teams went undefeated on Saturday. Meier and Ryan Vande Linde competed in the No. 2 doubles spot against both opponents and won their match against Loras 8-1 and their their match against Dubuque 9-7.

Stingley and freshman Michael Roden competed in the No. 3 spot and won their matches against Loras and Dubuque with the same score: 8-3.

Meier said he and Vande Linde fought hard to come from behind against Dubuque and that it helped position the team well to earn a victory.

“We were losing 3-7, but then we turned it around and won six games in a row,” Meier said. “That got us up for moving into singles.”

Junior Florent Marco, Minear and Meier all went 3-0 in singles play over the weekend.

Next weekend, the Blugolds will be in Minnesota where they’ll face Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.) and Augustana College (S.D.). Meier said this past weekend has prepared the men well for these matchups.

“Dubuque was really close and competitive,” he said. “It was really good for us to do that right before Gustavus because Gustavus gives us a lot of competition at every spot, which always makes it a fun match.”

Gillman also said Gustavus was something he is now looking forward to.

“Gustavus is a tough task, but I think it comes at a good time for us,” he said. “The guys have been competing really hard and our doubles lineup is starting to solidify. This is a really fun team to coach for and it’s exciting to see where we’ll go next.”