Lucky number seven

Road trip bodes well for Blugold men’s tennis as they win three matches in Iowa over weekend to extend win streak to seven



Story by Trent Tetzlaff, Copy Editor

College tennis teams often find themselves on the road many weekends throughout the spring season, making consistency hard to find.

However, the UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team found their stride and adapted to different court styles in order to pull off a 3-0 weekend in Iowa.

The Blugolds only lost a combined two games this past weekend, as they swept Loras College (Iowa) 9-0 on Friday and on Saturday beat Dubuque University (Iowa) and Lawrence University 8-1.

Overall, the Blugolds played extremely well over the weekend and adapted well to being on the road, head coach Tom Gillman said

“Our players were unfamiliar with the court surfaces they were introduced to on the road this weekend,” Gillman said. “The court speeds were fast on Friday, and extremely slow on Saturday but our guys adjusted and continued to come out strong.”

On Friday, the Blugolds were led by junior Kyle Hoffman, who won 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, and junior Jordon Stevens who won 6-0, 6-0, he replacing sophomore Conrad Felten at No. 6 singles, who is recovering from injury.

Gillman said moving Stevens into the singles lineup over the weekend shows the depth of their team, and how all the guys are ready to compete when given a shot.

On Saturday, Hoffman and Stevens led Eau Claire in singles, along with sophomore Michael Mauthe who won twice in singles and twice in doubles with Stevens.

Gillman said Mauthe really improved his defense in practice last week, and it showed over the weekend. Gillman said he felt Mauthe was the team’s best player over the weekend.

“Michael was by far our player of the weekend,” Gillman said. “He really improved his movement and defense, and it really was huge for not only his, but our team’s confidence this weekend.”

After the weekend, Eau Claire sits at 9-3 on the season and has won seven in a row, not losing since Feb. 15.

The Blugolds will face Augustana (IL) in Madison on Friday, and Cardinal Stritch University on Saturday, a NCAA Division I school.

Tough competition awaits the team this weekend, but Hoffman said they aren’t preparing any differently or looking at the opponents any differently, despite being on the road.

“Even though we were strong this past weekend, this upcoming weekend’s matches are a whole different story,” Hoffman said. “We know these teams are two of the tougher teams we will see this season, so we will continue to improve ourselves in practice and play hard like we always do.”

The Blugolds continue to grow as a team with the youth they have, but Gillman said they are ahead of the curve because of the upperclassman’s ability to work with the younger players in the lineup.

Hoffman said even with the youth, the team’s confidence and comfortability on the court has grown as the season has gone on, and they go into every match knowing they can win.

“We always think we have a shot against everyone,” Hoffman said. “We need to come out with strong doubles to get up early and show the teams we are here to play, and good shot selection and movement will be huge factors for us in order to be successful this weekend.”