By Gabi Duncan–
After losing three consecutive matches on the road to Washington, VCU and Michigan, the University of Louisville men’s tennis team rebounded on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 4, with a 6-1 victory over Minnesota at home. The Cards improved their season record to 4-3 and their match win-streak at home to 32.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” said head coach Rex Ecarma. “We’re very hopeful about this team because individually, they really believe in themselves.”
The Cards started out slow, going down 0-1 after losing a close doubles point. The No. 3 pair of freshmen Van Damrongsri and Lui Elizondo fell 8-3 to a tough Minnesota team. Senior Robert Hall and freshman Sebastian Stiefelmeyer lost a hard-fought match 9-7 at No. 1 to give the Golden Gophers their lone point. The No. 2 pair of senior Andrew Carter and freshman Albert Wagner won their match 8-5 to finish out the doubles.
“The match today was a rollercoaster ride of emotion. We had three match points at No. 1 in doubles, and we let it slip away,” said Ecarma. “We lost a tough doubles point but then were able to win six singles matches in a row.”
After dropping doubles, the Cards quickly turned things around in singles. Albert Wagner made quick work at No. 4, with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Minnesota’s Julien Dehn. Robert Hall followed, defeating Minnesota’s Jack Hamburg 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6. Andrew Carter closed out his match decisively 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 1 spot over Phillip Arndt. Sebastian Stiefelmeyer clinched the win for the Cards with a 7-6, 7-5 victory over Minnesota’s No. 118 Leandro Toledo. Freshman Michael Lippens defeated Rok Bonin at the No. 3 spot in a grueling match 7-6, 5-7, 10-8, and freshman Chris Simich finished out the match with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 win over Michael Sicora.
“I think Andrew Carter and Albert Wagner were the keys to the win today,” said Ecarma. “They put the team on their back in doubles and singles. They not only tied it up, but they switched the momentum around to our side.”
The Cards face a tough challenge when they take on No. 3 ranked Ohio State at the Bass Rudd Tennis Center this Thursday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. But, it appears they are prepared for the challenge.
“We’re going to need to stay focused and compete for every point,” said senior Andrew Carter. “It will be a battle, but we have to be ready for it and embrace it.”
Photo: Eric Voet/The Louisville Cardinal