By Sammie Hill–
Improving this season’s record to 12-8, the University of Louisville men’s tennis team defeated both Murray State University and Morehead State University 7-0 on Wednesday, March 21. These matches, played consecutively at home, demanded endurance and expertise from the Cardinals, who not only rose to the challenge, but also exceeded expectations.
“I’m really proud of the team,” head coach Rex Ecarma said. “To really dominate like that is a big deal.”
These matches followed several tough losses on the road against University of Washington, University of Tulsa, Texas Tech University and University of Oklahoma.
“We learned a lot from our road losses,” Ecarma said. “We realized that it’s tough to play defense the whole match and win against a good team.”
With this knowledge, the team decided to adjust their game and approach Wednesday’s matches with an offensive mindset. This strategy produced positive results; after facing Murray State with intensity and focus, the Cardinals earned a 7-0 victory. To Rex Ecarma, the performances of several players stood out in particular.
“Robert [Hall] had a great match at 6-0 6-0,” he said. “Albert [Wagner] continued his offensive tennis, and [Michael] Lippens looked really good. Almost every single match, the guys really stuck with the game, being aggressive and trying to really control the match.”
Louisville carried the momentum they accumulated against Murray into the proceeding match versus Morehead State. Solidifying a sweep of the doubleheader, U of L maintained their offensive approach and defeated their opponent 7-0.
“Sometimes I’m concerned playing a second match,” Ecarma said, “but I feel like it’s a really good test for the players. I also got to sub out some players and put in some new faces. It was great to see Sumit Gupta and Van Damrongsri in the lineup. They looked really good.”
The ability to play two matches in one day against Division I teams exemplifies the stamina and strength of the Cards. The team did not settle for merely competing in these games; they set out to dominate, and they succeeded.
“When you look at the day as a whole, we won all 18 courts, and the guys played really fresh. No one looked tired,” Ecarma said.
The University of Louisville men’s tennis team will face Indiana University on Wednesday, March 28. The team hopes that the confidence they gained in this week’s doubleheader victory will persist into next week’s match, which will take place in Bloomington, Ind. at 3 p.m.
Photos: Eric Voet/The Louisville Cardinal