Bears start their spring season with loss to Div. II Drury
Despite a strong finish to the fall season, the No. 3 Washington University men’s tennis team dropped last Saturday’s match to Division II No. 29 Drury University, 6-3.
“On the whole, I think our team performed very well,” senior John Watts said. “If you look at some of the scores, most of the sets were very close. We will play a few more matches and get back in the competitive groove.”
Watts and junior Max Woods highlighted the team’s performance, each getting a win in singles play. Watts handily defeated Roman Gonda 6-3, 6-1, and Woods bested Antonio Garcia Santos 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.
“I just tried to get out on the court, tried to play solid for the first few games, feel out my opponent, see what he’s doing, see how I’m feeling,” Watts said. “I found a good early rhythm, and I think he kind of came off a little slow. I just tried to stay focused, stay on top of him and not let him back in the match, and it worked pretty well.”
Watts also teamed up with freshman Kareem Farah to pick up a doubles victory, 8-6, over Alex Kacamakis and Ivan Marevic, Drury’s second doubles team.
Woods summarized his singles victory as somewhat of an internal battle of mental toughness.
“In the second set, I got away from what I was doing in the first set: coming to [the] net,” Woods said. “In the second set, I got a little too aggressive and a little impatient. In the third set, I calmed down, regrouped and tried to play like I did in that first set.”
Even the doubles team consisting of Woods and junior Isaac Stein, who placed fifth in the ITA Regional Championship in October, lost a close 8-6 match at first doubles to Gonda and Lukas Zielen.
“The team we played was really good, and it was our first match back for the spring season,” Woods said. “A little bit of it was rust, but the team we played was a big team with big serves, and they closed the net hard.”
The Bears’ suffered a 2-1 match deficit after doubles play, but overall, head coach Roger Follmer explained that although Woods and Stein are the team’s only returning doubles duo, there is a lot of potential in this team.
“The energy in doubles is something we’re working on, matching up our strengths against their weaknesses,” Follmer said. “But we have a lot of depth, a lot of options.”
The squad continues play next Saturday, Feb. 13, against Case Western Reserve University in Griffith, Ind.
“On any given day, it comes down to being solid in singles, being poised, believing in each other in doubles,” Follmer said.