‘I think we have a pretty good shot to win the whole thing’: Men’s tennis wins big against Principia

and | Contributing Reporter and Senior Sports Editor
Two tennis players in white shirts look over their right shoulder toward a player in red who is bent over, preparing to serve.

Graduate student Scott Altmeyer prepares to serve against a Principia College player. Altmeyer won 6-0, 6-4 as the Bears swept Principia 9-0 on Senior Day. (Photo by Curran Neenan | Student Life)

The Washington University men’s tennis team came out strong yet again Saturday, sweeping Principia College 9-0 on Senior Day. The win was the team’s eighth in a row, and it boosted their record to 8-1. 

The Bears were able to set the tone early, winning all three of the double’s matches. This momentum continued into the singles matches, which the team dominated without dropping a single set. 

“I think we’re just really strong this year,” graduate student Scott Altmeyer said. “We’ve got a lot of depth, all the way through, so it’s not just the top of the lineup, but it’s every position from one to six and in all three of the double’s teams.”

In doubles, the first team of Altmeyer and sophomore Abhi Ramireddy won 8-4, the second team of seniors Daniel Li and Benjamin van der Sman won 8-1 and the third team of senior Ethan Hillis and freshman Gaurav Singh won 8-1. 

In the singles matches, Hillis won as first singles 6-1, 6-1, Altmeyer won as second singles 6-0, 6-4, van der Sman won as third singles 6-1, 6-3, Li won as fourth singles 6-0, 6-3, Singh won as fourth singles 6-0, 6-0 and junior Sam Komis won as fifth singles 6-0, 6-1. The team’s only loss this year was a tight 4-3 defeat in the Bears’ first match of the year, against Division I Memphis.

Next week the team will face University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, which is also 8-1, at a neutral site in Bettendorf, Iowa. “We’re expecting a good, tough match, a good regular season match when we haven’t played our normal schedule,” Altmeyer said. “We’re looking forward to playing some top [Division III] competition and we’ll be definitely preparing and taking them very seriously.” 

Despite the challenges of pandemic-era athletics, there will likely be tennis playoffs this spring, and the team has been preparing for the Division III championship. Selection day is May 10. “It comes with staying competitive in practice, as well as the matches,” Altmeyer said. “We’ve been really dialed in for the practice matches because a lot of times our best competition is our own teammates.”

Hillis is optimistic about the team’s chances. “I think we have a pretty good shot to win the whole thing,” he said. “If I was betting on, I would bet we definitely do better than quarters, and should hopefully win the semis.” Hillis acknowledged that exposure to other teams has been limited due to regional concerns. For example, five-time national champion Emory University has only been able to play two other teams—both regional—so far. But both the Bears’ doubles and individuals are deeper than they have been in Hillis’s time on the team, he said.  “Based on that, I think that, we have a good shot to do a lot better than we have in previous years. But I guess those other teams could be feeling the same way—it’s hard to tell.” 

Women’s tennis on a winning streak as well

The women’s tennis team picked up two more wins last Tuesday and Sunday against Lindenwood University and North Central College, extending their winning streak to seven games and bringing their record to 7-1 on the season. 

The first match against Lindenwood started strong, with the Bears taking two of three of their doubles matches, courtesy of senior Ally Persky and freshman Karen Gao at No. 1 and senior Laurel Wanger and freshman Katherine Johnston at No. 2. Wash. U. continued to cruise in singles matches, dropping only one of their six singles matches en route to a 6-1 victory. 

Sunday’s match against North Central marked the seventh straight victory for the Bears, as they swept every match, not dropping a single set, in their 9-0 victory. The day marked a milestone for senior captain Laurel Wanger, who secured her 50th career victory with her wins at No. 2 doubles with freshman Katherine Johnston and at No. 4 singles. 

The women’s tennis team will look to keep their winning streak alive for the final home match of the season this Wednesday against Webster University. 

Senior Sports Editor Clara Richards contributed reporting.

Some longer Student Life sports reads:

Ringing up the curtain: Inside the decade-long push to display the iconic Olympic symbol

How the history of WU’s coaches of color relates to current questions of diversity in athletics

The story behind Teri Clemens and WU’s first national championship

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