Win or lose, head men’s tennis coach Tom Gillman can always find something for his team to improve upon for the next weekend of matches.
However, Gillman said this week was different because the Blugolds did everything he could have asked for on the court and more.
Over the past weekend, the UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team split matches against two top teams in their respective conferences.
On Friday night, the Blugolds beat Augustana (Ill.) to win their eighth straight match, but fell to Cardinal Stritch a NCAA Division I foe on Saturday to snap the streak.
Despite the loss over the weekend, head coach Tom Gillman is happy with the teams play and said that he got everything out of his players that he wanted too against tough opponents.
“Our guys competed extremely well all weekend,” Gillman said. “We came into the weekend wanting to do well and giving a good effort, and were able to play all of our matches competitively.”
On Friday, the Blugolds defeated Augustana 7-2 behind strong singles and doubles play in multiple come from behind victories.
Sophomore Will Weyenberg was strong at No. 2 singles with a 6-1, 7-5 victory, while fellow sophomore Michael Mauthe also impressed at No. 4 singles coming back after a second set loss to win 7-6, 1-6, 7-5.
Gillman said that after the tone was set in singles the doubles came out focused as they swept Augustana, behind strong play from Junior Kyle Hoffman and Freshman Andrew Dahl at No. 1 doubles.
The Blugolds couldn’t get the right bounces on Saturday to sneak by Cardinal Stritch, as the lone win came from Junior Jordan Stevens at No. 6 singles while many other Blugolds fell in close matches.
Junior Kyle Hoffman said the team played through a lot of adversity over the weekend, and that the number of comeback wins and close wins the team had really shows how they don’t let mistakes and lost points get to their heads.
“We really overcame a lot over the weekend in our matches,” Hoffman said. “We played through adversity, and fought back when we needed to despite deficits to win the matches we should have.”
Although the Blugolds are happy with their level of play right now, they are continuing to look at their schedule one match at a time and get better as they prep for their annual spring break trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina next week.
Gillman said that the trip is always what the team looks forward to the most, but poses many challenges such as facing teams they have never seen play before, and staying focused throughout the week.
Hoffman said that the trip gives the team a chance to get closer as a whole over the week as they have plenty of time to bond with the girls team and their own team.
“The biggest take away I get from the trip is just being able to gain team camaraderie with both the guys and girls teams,” Hoffman said. “We always have fun and stay safe on the trip while continuing to stay focused on our matches as well.”
Although the team bonding aspect of the trip is important for Eau Claire, Hoffman also said they have an extremely important match that they are working on preparing for over the trip with Carleton College (Minn.).
“Our match with Carlton over break is important because it will allow us to gauge where we are as a team,” Hoffman said. “They beat La Crosse earlier this year who has been a tough conference opponent for us, so the matchup will show us how strong we really are.”
The Blugolds will be back on the courts Tuesday as they will play four matches in three days while in Hilton Head.