The Washburn men’s tennis team went down to the wire in an intense matchup with No. 15-ranked Drury University on Friday at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Missouri.
The match was a rematch of the doubles USTA/ITA Central Region Championship when 4th-ranked Kay Bartman and Maximillan Hepp defeated 22nd-ranked Alejandro Valarezo Plaza and Mark Hunter of Washburn in October. This time, Hunter and Valarezo Plaza escaped with the win, 11-9 in a tie-breaker. The match snapped Washburn’s 13-game losing streak to Drury as the Ichabods took down the Panthers 5-4 on Friday night in their spring opener.
The win by the Ichabods was their first win over Drury since the 1997 season.
Lance Lysaught, second-year Washburn head tennis coach, said that there was a huge crowd–well over 100 people screaming and hollering–that attended the match. A group of wild fans were trying to grab the focus away from the Ichabods, but it seemed to have no effect as the men’s team was poised enough to finish a match that seemed to never end.
“No we love it, we love it,” said doubles team of Hunter and Valalezo Plaza when asked if they wanted the crowd noise lowered.
On the women’s side, they lost 1-8. The lone point came at No. 1 doubles when Ally Burr and Jodie Blackim topped Larissa Karl and Hadeil Ali 8-4.
Lysaught believes it is more of a rebuilding process for them. They played very well but the experience of Drury seemed to be a little too much.
“They competed well,” Lysaught said.
He believes that a lot more players have bought in this season, which is a main reason for their nice start.
“You see more leadership and success,” Lysaught said.
When the whole team believes a certain game plan can produce more wins is when the wins will start coming.
These next two matches should be competitive as Washburn will return to the court on Feb. 20 with the first of two NCAA Division I opponents when they will take on the Univeristy of Missouri-Kansas City.