Blugolds tennis faces off in tight matchup against Carleton College

After a day of tight matches, the Blugolds fell short against the Carleton Knights

Nick Porisch

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The Highlight Reel
May 10, 2023

Photo by Bill Hoepner / UWEC

Blugolds faces stiff competition in Rochester, MN.

On Saturday, Feb. 12, the Blugolds men’s tennis team faced off against the Carleton College Knights in Rochester, MN.

The day saw a series of tight matches that ultimately ended with Carleton narrowly pulling ahead of Eau Claire, according to Head Coach Brian Biernat.

The Blugolds entered Saturday with a 2-1 record after facing Luther, North Central and Bethel University in the previous weeks. According to Biernat, Carleton has consistently been a challenging opponent for Eau Claire.

“They lost a player last year who was number one in D3 tennis,” Biernat said. “And then they replaced him with another really good guy. So I didn’t catch a break.”

The No.1 and 2 doubles matches both came down to tiebreakers, with Carleton eventually winning both. Meanwhile, the Blugolds took an early win in the No. 3 match.

The trend of tight matches turning into losses against Carleton continued in the singles games. The only exception came from third-year athlete John Foley, who made a comeback victory against Tate Fuller, a first-year athlete with the Knights.

RJ Griffiths, a fourth-year singles player, commented on the tight back and forth of the match up.

“We were really good at fighting and keeping Carleton there when it was tight,” Griffiths said. “It came down to a couple tight breaks here and there.”

Biernat characterized the tournament as a battle, noting the close scores and a few unfortunate turns of luck.

“Our No. 3 guy, RJ Griffiths, had an asthma attack,” Biernat said. “But he just battled away.”

Griffiths reflected on the event.

“It was an off day for RJ,” Griffith said with a laugh.

Biernat said the team had entered the tournament with some new skills that contributed to their ability to keep the scores against Carleton close.

According to Biernat, the No. 3 doubles team had spent the last week practicing serves, and during their matches they hit all but four serves, providing constant pressure on their opponents.

“It was really incredible,” Biernat said.

Despite the ultimate result being a loss, the team came away from the tournament with a lot of positive energy, according to Biernat. 

“We really took away that you just keep battling, that no matter what the score is you find a way to get a point and build upon that,” Biernat said. “And then we were supporting each other out there the entire time, which was really positive.”

Additionally, Biernat and Griffiths both said their the biggest takeaway from the weekend was the memories they made with the team.

Biernat said the team had been able to stay in a hotel the night before the game and bond, and Griffith mentioned that his favorite part of the day was going out to get food with the team after the game.

“You want to have experiences,” Biernat said. “That’s what we want to give our team as coaches.”

The Blugolds men’s tennis team will return to the courts Saturday, Feb. 19, to face off against St. Olaf College and Carthage College in Minnesota.

Porisch can be reached at [email protected].