.500 no more after Iowa trip

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

The UW-Eau Claire mens tennis team shut out both of its opponents this last weekend in Moline, Iowa. The Blugolds first played St. Ambrose (Iowa) on Friday followed by Loras College (Iowa) on Saturday. They beat both teams 9-0 overall.

Eau Claire proved victorious in all singles competition Friday against St. Ambrose.

Juniors Jon Meier and Brayden Parman were the best statistically, only losing one of the 12 games they played in. Junior no. 1 singles player Ryan Vande Linde won his match 6-0, 6-4.

Vande Linde said the team’s success was mainly due to week-long determination.

“Last week we had a disappointing loss,” he said. “So this weekend we wanted to get out to a good start and kind of redeem ourselves a little bit. I think we really had a lot of focus going into our first match up Friday.”

It was the same story for doubles competition on Friday. Of those to compete, senior Flo Marco and freshman Kyle Hoffman were the sole pair to drop just one game of their eight played that day. Eau Claire performed even better during Saturday’s competition against Loras.

Meier shaved the sole loss from Friday off during the following day’s bout, ending his singles match with a perfect 6-0, 6-0 victory. Vande Linde also performed better against Loras, only losing one game in his no. 1 singles match.

Altogether, the Blugolds singles players only lost seven games overall.

The doubles competition held up their end of the bargain.

Collectively, they only lost four games. Of those to perform, Parman and senior David Stingely stole the show.

They won their no. 3 doubles match 8-1. Meier said although the scores may not show it, Loras was a good team overall.

“The doubles were a little bit closer Saturday, at least the doubles for me and (Vande Linde),” Meier said. “Even though the scores didn’t say it was close, the guys were definitely better than the guys we played on Friday. Basically, everyone stayed playing their game and we didn’t let up on anyone.”

After this weekend’s play, the team now sits at 6-4 on the season. St. Ambrose fell to 2-7 on the year while Loras is still without a victory at 0-6.

The Blugolds play again March 17 in Hilton Head Island, S.C. as part of their spring break trip. They will play five matches there.

Head Coach Tom Gillman said the team will be well-prepared for competition when the time comes to leave.

“Getting the guys to really be up tempo every day in practice and just working really hard on a day by day basis is a big thing for us,” Gillman said. “I think it’s easy to push yourself in matches when you push yourself all week long. It needs to come from them and if they see it that way, they’ll be successful.”