By MADALYN CROWELL
The Men’s tennis team traveled to California over spring break, where they suffered a pair of losses to nationally ranked competition. The Eagles lost to third-ranked Claremont Mudd Scripps College on Thursday, March 3 before falling to 16-ranked University of Redlands on Saturday March 5.
The Eagles took an 8-1 loss against Claremont Mudd Scripps College last Thursday at the historic La Jolla Tennis Club in San Diego. The Eagles walked away from the match with their sole win notched by junior Riley Baver from the No. 5 singles slot.
“Our goal was to cut it loose in doubles and see if we could steal a point or two, but unfortunately, Claremont was too tough to handle, and they beat us in three tough matches,” Baver said.
Baver took the win in his match 2-1 with sets resulting in the scores 6-3, 3-6 and 6-3.
“I had chances to break my opponent in the first game but didn’t convert,” Baver said. “However I held serve and was able to get up 4-1 by wearing him down and moving him around the court like I did in the first set. My opponent mounted a little comeback by breaking me back and getting the score to 4-3, but I closed the match out and won 6-3 in the third.”
The Eagles went on to play University of Redlands on Saturday, March 5, and lost 7-2 to the Bulldogs to drop their record to 2-6 on the season. The wins were taken by senior Kaz Murata in the no. 2 singles matc and sophomore Will Apperson in the no. 4 singles slot.
“Our effort was fine, but we have hardly scratched the surface of our potential yet this year,” head coach Todd Helbling said. “We are struggling in doubles and inconsistent in singles. We simply are not executing in crunch time, so until that changes, we are going to have a hard time beating other good teams.”
Apperson won his match 2-0 with wins of 7-5 and 6-2.
“I think it shows how much work we have to do to be playing at the level we want to be, especially in doubles,” Apperson said. “I think the Redlands match also shows how much room for improvement we have.”
Like Apperson, Murata won his match 2-0 with wins of 6-4 and 6-3.
“They are good wins individually but we definitely wish we could have picked up a win as a team, as well,” Murata said.
Murata also talked about the team’s trip to California, which he believes is a good team building experience.
“Cali is always a good experience,” Murata said. “We get to know each other a lot more and hopefully we will use this experience and practice this week to rebound against a very tough W&L match this weekend.”
The Eagles will take on Hood College Saturday morning and Washington and Lee University Saturday afternoon. Both games are at home at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.
“My hope for the rest of the season is that we improve on our focus in practice and matches in order to play with the discipline and determination we need to gut out wins against other nationally ranked programs,” Helbling said. “I am excited about the challenge in front of us and some of the tests we have coming up. I am confident our guys are up to it and will respond.”