Blugold tennis team begins preparing for conference play

Men’s tennis team dominates weekend matches, now prepares for conference foes


Photo by Meghan Hosely

Story by Trent Tetzlaff, Copy Editor

After being nominated for team player of the week, some athletes might get a big head and become full of themselves but junior captain Kyle Hoffman took route less traveled this past week.

Hoffman, who was voted by his teammates and coaches as player of the week after his play over the weekend, said despite the recognition from the team that he felt it was a team effort and that instead of focusing on himself, he is focused on what is to come.

“We have a tough schedule coming up with top conference opponents,” Hoffman said. “I know I had a solid weekend, but overall our team was great as a whole and played well together which is most important.”

On Friday in Madison the UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team swept Edgewood college 9-0, thanks to a win by Hoffman at No. 1 singles and a quick win by freshman Andrew Rust at No. 3 singles.

Meanwhile in doubles, the Blugolds only dropped a total of four sets as a team, while Hoffman and freshman Andrew Dahl set the tone at No. 1 doubles.

On Saturday, Eau Claire traveled back home to play their first match in McPhee Physical Education Center in over a month as they hosted Wartburg College (Iowa).

The Blugolds once again came out strong in front of what Hoffman said was a strong crowd filled with fans, friends and family and cruised to a 8-1 win.

Once again in singles Hoffman was dominant at the No. 1 spot winning 6-1, 6-3, while Rust wasn’t far behind winning 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3.

Hoffman said that part of what led to the wins was playing on the home courts once again.

“Being on courts we are familiar with in front of our fan base is something we thrive off of,” Hoffman said. “We are familiar with the surroundings and it plays a huge factor in our success.”

However, Hoffman said that a huge part of their recent success been built off of the play of the freshman Rust.

Rust, who competes at No. 3 singles and at No. 2 doubles was undefeated over the weekend and Hoffman said he has played a big part in being a motivating factor for the team with his play.

“Andrew has been a player we have been able to build off of as a team because of hard work and strong play on the court,” Hoffman said. “As a freshman he has really worked his way into the lineup and proven his spot with his determination.”

Head coach Tom Gillman said that the team really has established a confidence over the past few weekends and that they are where they need to be at right now.

“Coming into the latter part of the season our team is really showing their leadership and confidence,” he said. “The guys have set the themselves up to be ready for the toughest part of our schedule coming up.”

This Friday the Blugolds will travel to Winona (Minn.) to face Luther College (Iowa) for their last tune up before they will play three home matches against conference opponents UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater.

“We know after all of our matches this year that we can compete with anyone,” Hoffman said. “It’s just a matter of us keeping our confidence high.”