Warhawks push match win streak to seven

Feb. 25, 2015 By Ryan Altman

The UW-Whitewater men’s tennis team likes to utilize what head coach Frank Barnes calls the “next man up” mentality.

It was in full-effect last weekend after a slew of academic and injury absences forced Barnes to adjust his lineup for all three of the team’s matches at the Warhawk Invite at Premier Tennis and Fitness in Janesville.

The Warhawks remained unaffected, defeating Ohio Wesleyan University, 8-1, Wheaton College, 8-1, and Grinnell College, 9-0, and extending its current winning streak to seven.

“[Our depth] has been kind of a blessing,” Barnes said. “It’s been hard since there are only six singles positions and we’ve got up to 12 guys who can fill in for us at any time.”

Junior Michael Treis, filling in for junior Jake Humphreys at No. 1 singles for the second consecutive week, paced the No. 25-ranked ’Hawks (7-3) in its win over OWU. He and Humphreys teamed up to record an 8-3 victory at No. 1 doubles and later recorded a 6-1, 6-4 triumph at the top spot in singles.

Treis finished the weekend with a team-high six victories.

Humphreys, who was restricted to playing doubles, was disappointed he was unable to compete in singles, but at the same time was happy seeing how the team has reacted to a season full of adversity.

“Being injured and having to watch has been difficult,” said Humphreys, who has played in only five of ten possible singles matches. “But our season’s gone really well and everyone has been stepping up.”

Humphreys also notched an 8-2 doubles win Friday with senior Cam Laktash against Wheaton.

Against Wheaton, three of six singles matches involved a set tiebreaker, with the ’Hawks coming away with two of them. Senior Ben Shklyar (No. 2) knocked off Wheaton’s Justin Ancona, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), while sophomore Justin Bowman (No. 6) battled back from down a set against Derek Mumaw, winning in a ten-point, third set tiebreak, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 1-0 (10-8).

Freshman Matt Zurowski (No. 5 singles) was edged out by Matt Steiner, 6-7 (9-11), 4-6. Junior captain Michael Schnarr picked up one of his two wins, cruising past Lincoln Metz, 6-0, 6-4.

“We’ve been given a lot of flexibility,” Humphreys said. “A lot of Division-III teams don’t have [the same amount of depth]. No matter who we put on the court, we can count on them to win.”

In No. 3 doubles, sophomore Scott Butler and freshman Martin Beck added an 8-3 victory.

Play wrapped up Sunday with a shutout of Grinnell (5-4), who is ranked No. 12 in the Central Region. The ’Hawks made fast work of the Pioneers, dropping no more than four games in any set.

Shklyar (No. 3), Laktash (No. 4), Bisbee (No. 5) and sophomore Rithwik Rajshekhar Raman (No. 2 singles) earned singles wins for the ’Hawks.

Laktash and freshman Zane Navratil defeated Tracy Johnson and Emilio Gomez, 8-3, at No. 2 doubles.

A consistent effort to improve has been stressed by Barnes since the team began its season 0-3, and the ’Hawks have certainly responded, remaining unbeaten in the D-III portion of their schedule.

“The players have made a commitment to the fundamentals,” Barnes said. “We’ve been practicing timing, ground strokes, decision-making, sticking to the basics as well as building team chemistry. They’re always hungry to get back on the court.

The ’Hawks will participate in an alumni event at Premier Tennis and Fitness on Saturday, but return to competitive play on Friday, Mar. 6, taking on Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, Minnesota.

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