The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

UWEC men’s tennis faces a tough opening weekend

Blugolds remain optimistic after losing 7-2 against the Carthage Firebirds in the first match of the season
Photo by Willow Pawlisch
Demetri Bush and Ethan Wurtzel celebrate after winning match point at two doubles.

The UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team faced the Carthage Firebirds on Sunday, Feb. 4 at the John and Fay Menard YMCA Tennis Center to mark the first home match of the season. 

The Firebirds won the CCIW Championship last year and the Blugolds home opener this past Sunday winning 7-2. 

The Blugolds won one singles match and one doubles match. Fourth-year Ethan Wurtzel led both of those wins, joined by fourth-year Demetri Bush in doubles. The other doubles stood close by to watch their first win of the day as it went into a nail-biting 8-7.

Sam Murillo, a first-year doubles competitor, said he thinks it should be a good year. 

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“We lost our first match — it was pretty close,” Murillo said. “It’s for sure going to be a learning experience.”

Close games defined the singles round. Bush especially, playing at No. 2 with a narrow loss of 7-5, 6-4. Third-year Colin Chapman also put up a difficult time for the Firebirds in the No. 5 singles match losing 6-3, 6-4.

Facing the Firebirds at the season’s opening home match offers a shaky start to the season, but the team looks on the bright side of taking close losses against a team rated as highly as Carthage. 

Ryan Fonseca competed in doubles and this is his last season with the team as a fourth-year graduating from the exercise science program. 

“By the end, I feel a lot more confident in our play,” Fonseca said. “We definitely started tight, but we got into the swing of things.”

Looking forward, next weekend’s matches against the Carleton Knights and Gustavus Gusties appear to be less difficult to compete in. 

The next biggest challenge for the Blugolds will be against the Grinnell Pioneers later this month. They are ranked 36th in NCAA DIII Men’s Tennis by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). 

Last season Blugolds men’s tennis walked away with an 11-10 record. The beginning of last year started with a few losses against the Gustavus Gusties. 

The team gained momentum throughout the rest of the season ending with a win over the LaCrosse Eagles 8-1 and a clean finish beating the Wheaton Thunder 7-2. 

Back in September, the Blugolds competed at the ITA Midwest Regional with a handful of players. Bush and first-year Pablo Rincón advanced to the second day of competition. Rincón and Bush were taken out by a duo from UW-Whitewater, and Bush lost to a Carthage player, ending both of their runs.

“I’m a new player, and I feel a little nervous, but I feel good. I think it will be a good season,” Rincón said.

This weekend on Saturday, Feb. 10, the Blugolds will trek the two-and-a-half-hour drive to St. Peter, Minnesota, facing Gustavus Adolphus College with matches starting at 8:30 a.m.

More information about the team’s statistics, roster and schedule can be found on the Blugold Athletics website

Pawlisch can be reached at [email protected].

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