Follmer wins 200th career match as Wash. U. wins two

| Sports Reporter

An otherwise inconspicuous win on Saturday afternoon for the No. 14 Washington University men’s tennis team signified a landmark victory for its head coach.

Roger Follmer picked up his 200th career win at Wash. U. as the team beat Division II No. 45 Rockhurst University 6-3 on Saturday before easily beating regional foe Wittenberg University 9-0 on Sunday.

“I’m fortunate to have a job here at Wash. U.—to be part of this athletic department—because it’s awesome,” Follmer said. “Ten-plus years, I think the program’s pretty well established now…I definitely feel fortunate to be a part of it for Washington University.”

“The whole team is really proud of coach,” senior Gary Parizher said. “It’s a testament to the program here at Wash. U. and a testament to his ability, both to attract recruits and players and to run a really good team.”

Beyond Follmer’s mark, the overall results of the weekend were encouraging as the Bears won both matches without too much trouble. They extended their winning streak to five matches, dating back to the final match of their spring break trip to Hawaii.

Last year’s Bears reeled off a stretch of 12 wins in 13 matches following their spring break trip to California, taking them all the way to the national semifinals, so it’s easy to draw some parallels between that team and this year’s outfit.

But in the meantime, the squad is doing what it can to remain grounded.

“You hit a hot streak and ride a little momentum, and anything can happen, but you’ve got to be prepared for the things daily. We can’t just expect, ‘We’ve been to the Final Four five years in a row; we’ll do it again,’” Follmer said.

“It’s not the best players that win—it’s the guys that are committed and hit the hot streak, believe in it and work to put the work in.”

In a windy match against Rockhurst, the team got wins at second and third doubles from the combinations of senior Kareem Farah and freshman Tyler Kratky (8-6) as well as Parizher and junior Jeffrey Hirsh (8-3). With the team up 4-2, the final three matches consisted of the team’s three seniors—Adam Putterman at top singles, Parizher at fourth and Farah at fifth—and Putterman and Parizher managed to close out the win for the Bears and for Follmer.

Parizher and Putterman are both riding personal winning streaks, having taken nine and seven straight matches, respectively, between doubles and singles combined. Parizher noted that his play has improved since the team moved outside for spring season.

“I’m feeling much better ever since we moved outdoors,” Parizher said. “I had a bit of a shaky start to the indoor season with the losses to DePauw and Case Western, but ever since we moved outdoors, I’ve felt a good deal more comfortable, been playing really well.”

The Wittenberg match marked the team’s third 9-0 sweep of the spring season. The match came without much difficulty for the Bears. Wittenberg didn’t top three games in any of the three doubles matches, and only one singles match—Kratky, at fourth flight—went beyond the minimum of two sets. Regardless, with Wittenberg’s status as a fellow regional foe, the win was important for Wash. U. as it continues its push to the NCAA tournament.

“We put a little bit of pressure on ourselves to really get the season going this weekend because we’ve got a string of matches coming up that are meant to get us ready for conference,” Parizher said. “This weekend’s performance was really good.”

Wash. U. will host Lindenwood University – Belleville on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.

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