Men’s tennis achieves fifth straight win

By Cameron Schwarz

Feb. 24, 2016

The Whitewater men’s tennis team hosted the Warhawk Invite on Feb. 19 and 20 and earned three wins on the weekend.  The ’Hawks beat Ohio Wesleyan University, Wheaton College (Illinois) and Grinnell College (Iowa) with identical scores of 8-1.

Senior captain Jake Humphreys was out for the weekend dealing with back issues, giving the underclassmen a chance to play.

“There’s no replacement for Jake,” senior Michael Treis said.  “The thing with our team is that we have so much depth to pick up the slack.”

The depth came from freshmen Rory Calabria, Jimmy Engelhart and sophomore Matt Zurowski.

“We rested one or two traditional starters in each match to try and move guys up to give them tougher matches,” head coach Frank Barnes said.  “Those three guys got some valuable experience.”

The first match of the day was against  Ohio Wesleyan University, and the ’Hawks quickly took care of business.  The doubles rounded out victories at all three spots with No. 1 Rithwik Rajshekhar Raman and Treis winning 8-5, while the No. 2 and 3 spots each won 8-3.

The singles side was not much different with the ’Hawks picking up victories at the No. 2-5 spots.  Raman moved up to the No. 1 spot and was defeated 6-2, 6-3.

The second match of the day came against Wheaton College with the ’Hawks dominating in doubles, once again, getting all three of their doubles points.

“We always try to get that doubles lead going into singles,” Treis said. “It’s all about momentum.”

The momentum kept rolling into singles as Treis moved up to the No. 1 spot and won two tiebreakers 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-1).  Raman lost at the No. 2 spot with a close match of 6-4, 7-5, while No. 3-6 spots posted victories for the ’Hawks, giving them the 8-1 win.

The toughest match of the weekend came against regionally-ranked No. 18 Grinnel  College (Iowa).  The Hawks still won 8-1, but faced a lot of close matchups and clutch points.

Sophomore Zane Navratil and Engelhart edged out a 9-7 win to give them the first point, but junior Scott Butler and Raman were defeated at the No. 1 doubles spot in a tiebreaker 9-8 (7-2).  The Hawks relied on the No. 2 spot of senior Michael Schnarr and sophomore Grant Thompson to get them the lead going into singles, and didn’t let down winning 9-7.

“We needed that one to get the 2-1 lead from Schnarr and Thompson,” Barnes said.  “When you go into the break and all the energy is on your side, it really helps.”

The close matches carried over into singles at No. 4 when senior Matt Bisbee had the longest match of the weekend ending in another victory at 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (7-9), 1-0 (10-6). Zurowski also had a thrilling match at No. 6 winning 7-6 (12-10), 6-2.

Singles swept all six matches against Grinnel with Treis picking up another win at No. 1 6-2, 6-1.

The ’Hawks’ upcoming schedule will feature Division-I opponent UW-Green Bay on Feb 26.  The alumni tournament will also be held the same weekend on Feb. 27.