By Dalton Ray–
After two wins in their double header, Louisville men’s tennis is now 5-5 on the year. The wins came against Butler and Valparaiso.
Head coach Rex Ecarma says he “can’t remember the last time his team was under .500 after eight games.” The team dropped four straight games on their road trip. The Cardinals beat Butler 6-1 and Valpo 4-3 to place them back at .500.
George Headley and Brandon Landcaster both took singles victories in the double header. The pairs of Chris Morin-Kougoucheff and Headley and Courtney Lock and Sean Donohue won both doubles matches.
Ecarma said the team had series of meetings that included special guest that helped them get back on track.
“A great friend of mine, Dan McDonnell, came in and paid us a visit,” Ecarma said. “He gave us a speech on body language, dominating and believing in each other. We not only heard him Wednesday but we met on Thursday and we went over the highlights. I appreciate Dan coming in here and giving us a fantastic presentation.”
The Cards wouldn’t give the visiting Bulldogs a chance as they won the doubles point and the first four singles points. Valpo would make it a little harder for the home team.
Once again Louisville took the doubles point but didn’t handle the singles as gracefully. Morin-Kougoucheff and Hedley gave U of L 3-0 lead after defeating their opponents. The visiting Crusaders won the next two matches putting them behind at just 3-2.
The clinching point was achieved by freshman Landcaster. Ecarma has some praise for the St. X product but wants him to continue to improve.
“He plays in spurts,” Ecarma said. “He started the fall 13-3 but before his match he lost four straight. I think he needs to understand how hard he has to work. I think he needs more discipline on and off the court. But I realize he’s very young and he shows flashes of brilliance and that’s why we keep him in there.”
Landcaster wouldn’t disagree with his coach and brushed up on ACC competition.
“One of the things I’ve realized is how much work I have to put in in my off-time,” Landcaster said. “Everyone works really hard he so if you slack off they will pass you up so I have to push myself. With the ACC is coming up it won’t get easier, Alex Gornet and Jeffery Brown have told us how hard it is. There really isn’t any soft teams.”
Michigan State and Murray State are next for the Cards. After that those two games Louisville will host top-ranked Virginia in the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center.
Ecarma can’t look ahead because he has “enough on his plate.”
“Honestly, I’m just looking at one game ahead of us,” he said. “We’ve played eight or nine guys this year and five are freshman. So finding the right combination is enough for me. I can’t look ahead because we’re still adjusting our lineup. We have guys fighting to get in the lineup and guys fighting to stay in.”
The next home match for Louisville will be a double header. On Mar. 4 U of L will host Murray State and no. 1 Virginia.