Men’s tennis finishes season strongly

    Blugold men’s tennis team finishes season on high note, after battling injuries all season

    More stories from Trent Tetzlaff

    Men’s tennis finishes season strongly

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    Ever since men’s and women’s tennis coach Tom Gillman began coaching at UW-Eau Claire, he noticed something different about his team’s matches against UW-La Crosse.

    He said his teams are always itching to play the Eagles, and year after year they end up in down-to-the-wire matches with the conference foe.

    One could consider the Eagles and Blugolds rivals, Gillman said.

    “La Crosse versus Eau Claire matchups are always very dramatic no matter what,” he said. “The matches are always very competitive and it’s always been a great rivalry.”

    However, this rivalry, which Gillman said has been around for quite some time, hasn’t gone in the Blugolds’ favor over the past few years.

    The Blugold men came into this past weekend having dropped their previous two matches against La Crosse, while the women lost to the Eagles this past fall.

    Despite the tough defeats coming from the Eagles over the past two seasons, the Blugold men were able to turn these tides as they prevailed over their rivals 6-3 on Friday afternoon.

    In doubles, the Blugolds were able to steal two of the three matches, as the No. 2 doubles team of sophomores Andrew Rust and Andrew Dahl pulled out a win, followed by a win at No. 3 doubles by junior Will Weyenberg and senior Jordon Stevens to set the tone for singles.

    In singles, the Blugolds pulled out four of the six matches as Gillman said the guys were able to carry over the momentum from the doubles wins and translate the success into energy and strong play on the court.

    “It’s always great to win a rivalry match like that,” Gillman said, “but we tried not to overanalyze the win, and rather just take it as a normal win.”

    The Blugold men carried their success Friday into a matchup with UW-Oshkosh and once again were victorious with a 9-0 sweep of the Titans.

    Against the Titans, Gillman said his team was confident in all phases of the game, and it showed. In singles at No. 3, Weyenberg didn’t lose a single set in his 6-0, 6-0 win, followed by a 6-1, 6-0 quick win by Stevens at No. 6 singles.

    Despite extending their win streak to four prior to a Sunday matchup with a nationally ranked UW-Whitewater team, the Blugolds weren’t able to pull off the weekend sweep as they fell to the Warhawks 9-0.

    Although the Warhawks who were ranked No. 16 in the latest NCAA Division III poll swept the Blugolds, Gillman said the team can take away a lot of positives from the loss and the season as a whole.

    He said the 9-0 loss in a sense was misleading because of how close each individual match was, and if a few points had gone differently, the final score could have been a lot different.

    “For a team that has had unbelievable injury problems all year to sit here and be 18-6, I can’t really ask for any more when you consider how disastrous this could have been,” he said. “We had a lot of good wins this year and a lot of guys stepped up and became leaders, which bodes well for the future.”