WU tennis prepares for Rockhurst

Richard Kelly

MIAA conference play began for Washburn men’s and women’s tennis this past Wednesday and all the recent tennis play seems to have finally paid off.

Beginning against Southwest Baptist in a home match played indoors at Wood Valley Tennis Center, Dave Alden’s men’s and women’s tennis teams won 5-1 and 5-4 respectively, to start the conference with a winning record and move the teams in the right direction.

In the women’s match, Washburn found itself down by three at one point and time before storming back behind a strong effort from Alyssa Castillo, who lost her first match 6-0 before winning the second match 7-6 and the tie breaker 7-3, which gave the Washburn women the victory.

The men’s match saw them sweeping the doubles matches and also winning every singles but one. They suffered their only loss during the third set.

Overall, Alden was nothing but pleased with his teams’ strong efforts against their first conference foe.

“It was one of those times that as a coach, when you come against your first conference opponent, that’s (strong effort) what you want,” said Alden.

And for the women’s squad, Alden knows all matches may end up as tough as this one. While the team, which was all freshmen except for one junior, went undefeated through their conference schedule last year, he’s aware that may make things a bit harder.

“There’s a little bit of a target on our back. As sophomores, often times you learn a lot about how your team’s going to compete,” said Alden. “But also, all the teams remember us from last year. So regardless of what teams we’re playing, we’re going to get everyone’s best match.”

Alden used his reference to apply to a doubles match in which Yann Kasay and Emmanuel Laurent were down 4-1, but then won seven straight games en route to an 8-4 victory. Alden said their opponents were not said to be as strong as their efforts showed, but that they put their best effort in their play against Washburn.

The teams also took on Cowley County Community College on the road Tuesday in Emporia, winning both matches 6-3.  The match, which was played outside for one of the first times this year, was an out of conference game, but Alden still saw the game as good experience. With the windy weather, he was sure it would be a good predecessor for the team.

“The wind totally changes the dynamics of playing. It’s good to get a match played outside in conditions like this. Especially since we’ll have to do it again,” said Alden.

Washburn now returns today for a home match against Rockhurst University, which will begin at 2 p.m.