Tennis teams pick up wins in South

Nicole Stejskal

Tough matches early in the season have provided the Washburn tennis teams with experience and preparation for upcoming conference play.

The men’s team suffered two close losses early last week to Cameron, 3-6, and Midwestern State, 4-5, but coach Dave Alden was pleased with the team’s competition.

“Those schools have played a ton of matches leading up to us,” said Alden. “So they were already in mid-season form, and we’re still pre-season basically, so I thought we played well.”

The team then turned their success around with solid finishes in matches during the weekend. On Friday, the team swept Dallas Baptist 9-0 and continued to play well on Saturday with a 5-0 win against East Central.

“This week was the week for us to get things going and start our season by playing really good teams,” said Alden.

Men’s competition will continue next weekend as they take on Cowley County, Truman State and Wichita State in what will be the start of the season’s most vital matches.

“The most important match is against Truman because that’s the first conference match,” said Alden. “Cowley is also a strong program, so we’ll play a pretty tough match right before we play our first big match.”

After a perfect start to the season, the women’s team continued their success with an 8-1 win over Fort Hays State two weekends ago, giving Coach Alden more confidence in his young team.

“Fort Hays was a good start to our conference season,” said Alden. “We performed well, and we’re getting more and more experienced.”

The team was then handed its first loss of the season early last week in a 3-6 defeat against Midwestern State. They moved on to play Cameron the following day and finished the week with a solid 6-3 win.

The women continued competition on Friday against Dallas Baptist, and after a close 4-5 loss, the team fought back to beat East Central 5-4 on Saturday afternoon. Despite a few ups and downs, Coach Alden was proud of the way the team competed.

“Dallas Baptist was tough, and it came down to the last match in the third set,” Alden said. “We’ve already beaten two of the top eight teams in the region, so that will help us make a case to be one of the top eight in the region.”

The women’s team will also take on Cowley County and Truman State next weekend in what Alden hopes to be experience-building matches.

“Cowley is a good match for us to play additional competition to get more experience and an additional set underneath our belts,” said Alden. “Truman is also tough, and they’ve got a pretty experienced team, so we need to make sure that we’re ready for them.”