Men’s tennis on a roll heading into UAAs

Freshman Parker Chang serves on Saturday against No. 30 ranked DePauw. Wash. U. won 8-1, and Chang won in both singles (6-4, 7-6) and doubles (9-8). Ben Gottesdiener | Student Life

Freshman Parker Chang serves on Saturday against No. 30 ranked DePauw. Wash. U. won 8-1, and Chang won in both singles (6-4, 7-6) and doubles (9-8).

After sailing through its final contest before the University Athletic Association championships next weekend, the Washington University men’s tennis team is playing its best tennis at the right time.

Playing at home for the final time this season, the No. 17 Bears topped No. 30 DePauw University 8-1 on Saturday afternoon at the Tao Tennis Center, extending their winning streak to seven games.

“It feels like that,” head coach Roger Follmer said, when asked if the team was peaking at the right time. “After we play in Orlando [for the University Athletic Association championships], we’ll know. It was definitely good to see those guys playing as a very good team and to come out on top.”

Wash. U. started out well, with two out of three doubles matches going its way. While the top pairing of junior Adam Putterman and freshman Ross Putterman dropped its match 8-4, every other match of the day was won by the Bears. Junior Kareem Farah and freshman Parker Chang took No. 2 doubles 9-8(5), and a new third pairing of junior Gary Parizher and sophomore Jeffrey Hirsh won the No. 3 doubles match 8-6.

“We’re now 5-2 in tiebreakers [in doubles], and we rattled off five straight points there,” Follmer said. “It’s just a matter of time. Stay with it, and things will go your way.”

Things only improved for the Bears in singles. Adam Putterman bounced back from doubles with a win in top singles (6-2, 6-4). Parizher continued his good afternoon with a (6-3, 6-3) win at No. 2 singles, and Ross Putterman helped clinch the contest for the Bears with a come-from-behind three-set win (4-6, 6-2, 12-10) at No. 3 singles.

That wasn’t quite enough for Wash. U., which took the last three matches of the afternoon as well. Farah won No. 4 singles (6-4, 6-2), Chang took No. 5 singles (6-4, 7-6(1)), and sophomore Tim Noack completed the sweep with a (6-3, 6-3) victory at No. 6 singles.

The win improved the Bears’ record to 13-5 on the season and gave them their seventh straight win—all since the team’s spring break trip to California—and is working to fine-tune things before their biggest weekend of the season.

“It’s more just focus and little details from here on out. Getting your rest, getting your schoolwork taken care of, get your rackets all strung up, get your uniforms all laid out, and all you do is show up and play,” Follmer said.

Up next is a trip to Orlando, Fla., for the UAA championships, the biggest weekend of the spring season for Wash. U. and one that promises to pose some stiff competition. The Bears enter the weekend as the second-highest ranked team in the conference but sit well behind Emory University, which is No. 2 overall in the country.

The Bears have faced and beaten UAA opponents three times this spring, picking up a 9-0 win over Rochester on March 13, a 5-3 win over No. 21 Case Western Reserve University on April 14 and a 7-2 defeat of No. 30 University of Chicago on April 15.

And while Emory will be the odds-on favorite coming into the tournament, Follmer is making a point of not overlooking the teams before then.

“We’ll either be the three- or two-seed, with Carnegie Mellon,” Follmer said. “If we win the first match on Thursday, we’ll play Carnegie Mellon. We’ve got to be ready.”

UAA championships begin on Thursday, April 26.