The UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team traveled approximately 225 miles this past weekend for competition. They first beat St. Norbert in Green Bay Friday and then fell just short to Lawrence University Saturday in Appleton.
While senior captain Flo Marco said the commute did have an effect on the team, he said it didn’t get in the way of their competition on Friday. The team beat St. Norbert 7-2 overall.
Junior Ryan Van Linde won a close first match in no. 1 singles, edging his opponent in three games. He won the first set 7-5, then lost the second 7-5 and ended with a 10-7 third game victory. The Blugolds also claimed their no. 3, no. 5 and no. 6 singles matches. In doubles competition, they swept all three matches as well.
“The team we played wasn’t very strong,” Marco said. “We shouldn’t have lost two matches the way we did. I think it was a mixture of the traveling and then being tired from school. But we played pretty well Friday.”
But the following day, Eau Claire wasn’t as lucky. Marco said the long trip on top of driving to Appleton, an additional 30 miles, early Saturday morning definitely had a negative effect on the team. There, Lawrence University pulled out a narrow 5-4 victory over the Blugolds.
The no. 3, no. 5 and no. 6 Eau Claire singles players won their respective matches once again. But the team was only able to walk away with one doubles victory against Lawrence. Junior Brayden Parman said a lack of aggressiveness during the day’s competition led to their opponent coming out victorious.
“It’s tough, we just didn’t play well,” Parman said. “In doubles we came out slow and dropped two matches and then we didn’t really make it back or anything. It was just a slow start and a slow end there.”
After this weekend’s play, the Blugolds now stand at 4-4 on the season. Head Coach Tom Gillman said he thinks the team lost a few they should have won, but the team is still in good shape.
“We talked to the team about how we can perform better and I think they are really taking that in,” Gillman said. “We are in the time of the year where we just want to make sure we are really pushing ourselves to play smart and give ourselves the best chance at winning. I think it’s going to pay off in the long run.”
Eau Claire will make another long trip this coming weekend, driving approximately 275 miles to Moline, Illinois. There, the team will compete against St. Ambrose (Iowa) Friday and then Loras (Iowa) Saturday.
“I want to see our guys really believe they can take on any challenge that hits them and really just be a little more consistent,” Gillman said, “If we can do that and just be positive out there, I’ll be happy no matter what.”