Men’s tennis wins in Oklahoma

Luke Warnken / Washburn Review

The Washburn Ichabod tennis team squared off with the Arkansas-Fort Smith Lions in Tulsa, Okla.

After coming off an 8-1 team win over Lindenwood University a few weeks ago in Springfield, Mo., the Bods dominated Arkansas-Fort Smith with another 8-1 thwarting.

“I think it was great. We’re still a young team,” said Dave Alden, Washburn head coach. “For us to stay together with a pretty consistent performance is great.”

The Bods No. 1 doubles team made up of sophomore Arkadiusz Kozaczuk and freshman Maciej Winiarz faltered to start off, falling 8-4. The No. 2 doubles team consisting of sophomores Bobby Florence and Pascal Laucht notched Washburn’s first win of the day with an 8-4 win of their own. The sophomore-freshman duo of Steve Fletcher and Dario Munoz-Paletti pulled out an 8-5 win in No. 3 doubles to give the Bods a 2-to-1 lead going into singles play.

“They’re slowly learning what it takes to win,” said Alden. “All our doubles and even singles did great.”

Great may be an understatement for the Ichabods, who swept the Lions in singles play. Kozaczuk got revenge after being beaten earlier in doubles play. The Warsaw, Poland, native beat fellow European and Slovakian Lubos Sobotka of Arkansas-Fort Smith in No. 1 singles with a 6-2 win in the first set, before Sobotka retired in the second set. Laucht, from Marburg, Germany, kept the momentum going winning his first set 6-0 and winning his second set 6-4 to bring home the win in No. 2 singles. Fletcher won No. 3 singles winning both sets 6-2.

“We’ve preached about being consistent in our play,” said Alden.

Consistency was no problem for the Bods. Florence came away with a 6-3, 6-0 thumping and Winiarz dominated with two 6-1 sets. Washburn finished out the match with a 6-1, 6-0 win by sophomore Chance Joost.

“There’s really no one guy that I could single out. They all started good and finished well,” said Alden.

The Ichabods smacked it to the Lions with an 8-1 victory. The Bods never had to go to a third set to win. Washburn managed to only drop 16 games in singles play as a team.

“To win we need that type of effort consistently,” said Alden. “Everything we do has to be at a high level.”

Washburn got off to a rough start, falling 8-1 Drury University to start off the season. But after defeating Arkansas-Fort Smith, the Bods move to 2-1 on the season. The youthful Ichabods consist of only sophomores and freshmen, but Alden said they continue to make great strides as the season progresses.

“The team chemistry is better,” said Alden. “They get along exceptionally well.”

The focus going into the matches in Tulsa was on finishing strong. The young Bods were able to jump on their opponents for an early lead in every match, yet struggled to finish them off. Against the Lions, the Ichabods finally got over that hump with dominating wins, barely losing any sets as a team.

“They do the things they should do off the court and it translates to good things on the court,” said Alden. “We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”