By Dalton Ray–
The men’s tennis team kicked off their season by winning a doubleheader against Samford and Chicago State. Louisville opened the day with a 5-2 win over the Bulldogs then swept the Cougars 7-0.
Samford jumped up early on the Cardinals by winning the doubles point. Sean Donohue and Parker Wynn won the first court 6-3, but Samford took the victories on courts two and three.
Coach Rex Ecarma said he wasn’t worried about his team after they dropped the doubles point, but said the loss was good for his squad.
“I was calm during the doubles, I know how well they can play there. Two and three just went out and played flat. I knew if we dropped the doubles point, we would go out and flex our muscles in singles,” Ecarma said. “We let them hang around, and that’s always dangerous. They learned a lesson and it’s always good to learn a lesson in a win.”
As Ecarma predicted, his team didn’t hesitate to take over in singles.
Chris Morin-Kougoucheff, Brandon Lancaster and Clement Filho won with little difficulty. Lancaster swept Curran Verma 6-0, 6-0 while Morin-Kougoucheff and Filho downed their opponents 6-1, 6-0. The final three points provided more resistance.
Donohue pulled out two close wins over Jake Faundez, winning 7-5, 6-4. The win sealed the match for the Cardinals. Wynn battled back after dropping his first set, winning 6-7(6-8), 6-2, 6-1. The lone singles loss came with Ciro Lampasas. Ecarma said Lampasas will bounce back.
“(Lampasas) just got tight,” Ecarma said. “First time playing for the University of Louisville in a team match situation and he just got tight. He’s a much better player than that and we see two levels better than that every day.”
In the nightcap, U of L faced Chicago State. Without opening-day jitters, Louisville jumped all over the Cougars.
“Our guys were really prepared with it being our second match of the day. They were loose, they were relaxed and it really showed. They had a dominant performance,” Ecarma said.
Donohue and Wynn clinched the doubles point for Louisville, moving the pair to 2-0.
Chicago State forfeited court six because they didn’t have a player, giving U of L a 2-0 lead. Lancaster made quick work of his opponent, winning 6-1, 6-0.
Along with Lancaster, Morin-Kougoucheff, Donohue and Wynn all moved to 2-0 in singles with their win against CSU. George Headley earned his first victory of the year with a 6-2, 7-6 win.
Ecarma said three of his players stood out to him in the two matches.
“Sean did a good job of clinching against Samford,” Ecarma said. “Kougoucheff handled No. 1 all day and Brandon has been an ace … the guy is rock solid right now.”
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal