Men’s tennis drops spring opener 5-4 to Div. II Drury
The Washington University men’s tennis team’s first match of the spring season ended in a bit of a setback as the Bears lost a 5-4 contest to Division II Drury University on Saturday evening at the Creve Coeur Racquet Club.
It was the Bears’ first home loss in nearly two years with the last being a 5-4 loss to the University of Chicago on April 2, 2011. The two schools have faced off in February each of the past four seasons with Wash. U. getting its only win in a 5-4 victory in 2012.
“We knew that they would come after us after we beat them last year for the first time in school history,” senior captain Gary Parizher said. “They put a tough match together.”
Drury, ranked No. 12 in Division II, won the match thanks to the top of its lineup in both singles and doubles. In a rare occurrence, senior Adam Putterman—ranked No. 3 nationally in singles—and sophomore Ross Putterman were both beaten twice; the pairing of the two lost 8-6 in first doubles, and then they were both beaten by identical 6-3, 6-4 scores at first and second singles, respectively.
Drury picked up its other two wins via the second doubles flight as junior Max Franklin and sophomore Kevin Chu dropped a 9-7 contest, and the third singles match, where junior Tim Noack lost a two-set match at 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
“They played some pretty solid doubles. Those two wins were close and they could’ve gone either way, and they managed to pull them out at the end,” Parizher said.
Head coach Roger Follmer thought that the close losses could at least in part be attributed to the team being in its first match of the spring season.
“That was our first match, and that was Drury’s third match. Maybe down the stretch, they were a little stronger physically and mentally with that match toughness that you get. There’s no substitute for playing a real-live dual match.”
Three Bears combined to get the team its four wins on the day. At third doubles, senior Kareem Farah and freshman Tyler Kratky took an 8-2 match. Kratky and Farah also won fourth and sixth singles by scores of 6-2, 6-4 and 6-2, 6-2, respectively, and Parizher was the team’s remaining winner with a three-set victory (6-3, 3-6, 10-2) at fifth singles.
“One of the things that contributed to our wins was that we were really just solid, level-headed through the whole singles match,” Parizher said. “And I think that’s the attitude we’ve got to take in for the rest of the season.”
Kratky, in particular—playing in his first team dual-match at Wash. U.—managed to get off to a good start.
“I was very happy with how I played in the doubles match, and then when it came to singles, I just tried to keep my composure out there,” he said. “In singles [compared to doubles] it’s kind of about keeping your composure and staying in your own match, and that’s what I felt I was doing and getting the job done. I was very happy.”
“He got off on the right foot, and you don’t always get that when you’re playing good teams like Drury,” Follmer said. “He was able to get a couple wins, which is a good base to start on.”
Despite the home loss and the 0-1 start to the spring season, the Bears didn’t seem to take the loss particularly tough, but rather as one step at the beginning of the season.
“Drury’s not a team in Division III, so we’re not going to take that loss too hard. It’s our first match of the year, we can learn a lot from it,” Kratky said. “I feel like we have a great chance to go far and we’re all working very hard.”
The Bears will face 28th-ranked Southwest Baptist University next Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at King’s Point Racquet Club in Belleville, Ill.
“Hopefully we’ll get a W next week, I think we’ll be a little sharper in those close matches, especially a couple of doubles matches,” Follmer said. “I just think there were some of those yips in your first match.”