While most of the spring sports are trying to get games rescheduled and fields cleared, the Washburn men’s tennis team has been fortunate enough to get some matches in.
The men’s team stepped out of Division II play to face Wichita State. The Ichabods were unable to topple Goliath, only winning one game in the whole match.
“They’re one of the top 75 teams in the nation in Division I,” said Bobby Florence, Washburn junior tennis player. “You can’t really ask for better competition. We compete with them and just play as hard as we can.”
There wasn’t much time to dwell on the loss as the Bods had to jump right back into action Saturday and Sunday. Saturday Washburn picked up a much needed over a tough Southeastern Oklahoma team. The Ichabods got things started fast, sweeping all three doubles matches. Florence picked up a 6-3, 6-3 win in No. 5 singles while newcomer, freshman Thilo Schlenker, won his No. 2 singles match in three sets. Junior Arek Kozaczuk took Southeastern’s Luka Radulovic into three sets in No. 1 singles before falling 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Junior Pascal Laucht also fell in three sets in No. 3 singles but the Bods were able to walk away with a 5-2 win over the Savage Storm.
“Southeastern is a pretty solid team,” said Florence. “We really came together as a team and played really well all through doubles. We played strong in singles. One through four went through three sets. It boosted our confidence that we can beat some better teams.”
Washburn improved their record to .500 the following day with a throttling of instate non-conference foe Newman University. The Ichabods dominated from the start as Kozaczuk won No. 1 singles 6-4, 6-0 and Sclenker won his No. 2 singles match 6-3, 7-5. Laucht came away with a victory in No. 3-singles play while junior Steven Fletcher had an impressive 6-0, 6-0 win in No. 4 singles. Florence and junior Chance Joost both won their matches as the Bods went into doubles play with a 6-0 advantage. Kozaczuk and Fletcher won their No. 1 doubles match 8-3 while Florence and Joost defeated Ramon Nola and Jared Ferris 8-2 in No. 2 doubles. Sophomores Jacob Long and Dario Munoz-Poletti finished off the sweep with an 8-5 win in No. 3 doubles. The Bods will have to rely on their depth as they continue to pack more and more games on this spring. The veteran squad has plenty of experience, but will need Schlenker and Long to proivde a boost.
Long, a Topeka native, was able to make the best of the situation as he filled in for the Bods’ lineup in their third straight day of matches.
“I was excited to get this moment,” said Long. “Although it was a great opportunity for me, I loved playing for my teammates.”
Washburn will need to keep their focus as they begin the grueling part of their schedule.
“It’s a good feeling feeling [beating Newman] because we have had a tough schedule thus far,” said Long. “I know our team has a lot of potential this year and I’m excited to see what we can do in our regular season.”
The Ichabods will again step away from Division II play to square off with Cowley County Community College. The Bods are looking to keep the momentum going against the small institution.
“We really got to prioritize everything,” said Florence. “We really have to plan ahead and take the days off when you need to take them off. Just play as hard as you can when you get the opportunity.”