Warhawks down rival

By Cameron Schwarz

March 9, 2016

The No. 16-ranked UW-Whitewater men’s tennis team came away with their second win against a Division-III ranked opponent in as many tries when they took down No. 19-ranked Gustavus Adolphus College, 5-4, on March 5.

The last time the ’Hawks beat a ranked opponent was when they defeated No. 10 Kenyon College on Feb. 6.  In comparison to then, they were coming off a 7-0 defeat against a Division-I team.

“A lot of other D-III teams don’t play the quality teams that we do,” senior Matt Bisbee said.  “That really helps us prepare for matches against Gustavus who is a top program in the country.

The doubles squad started the day off with the No. 1 duo of seniors Jake Humphreys and Michael Tries taking a loss at 8-4.  The ’Hawks took the lead with back-to-back wins of 8-6 at the No. 2 and 3 spots for Scott Butler and Rithwik Rajshekhar Raman, and Grant Thompson and Michael Schnarr.

“Michael Schnarr really pushed the three team, giving us some really good energy and volleys at the net to even it up at 1-1,” head coach Frank Barnes said.  “Then Scott Butler was pure emotion at No. 2.  As a senior never beating Gustavus, he really wanted to get the win.”

The top three singles took all of their matches into a third set, but were unable to pick up wins for the team.  No. 1 Humphreys was defeated 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.  No. 2 Treis followed up with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 loss, while No. 3 Raman was beat 5-7, 7-5, 6-0.

“Gustavus is a really tough team at the top,” Barnes said.  “Not getting any wins from Humphreys and Treis combined, and still coming out with a win shows the depth that we have.”

The depth was apparent in the bottom half in singles when No. 5 Zane Navratil won in two sets 7-6, 6-3 and also No. 6 Bisbee picking up the 6-3, 6-2 win.  Bisbee heard high appraisal from coach Barnes after the match.

“He [Bisbee] played his best tennis of the year,” Barnes said.  “He gave us that 3-1 lead and a little bit of a cushion.”

The biggest comeback of the day and much-needed win came from Thompson in singles when he dropped his first set 0-6, then came back to win the second and third sets 6-3, 7-5.

“If Grant doesn’t come back we obviously lose that match 4-5,” Bisbee said.  “To come back from 0-6, 0-2, that’s saying something about how competitive this team is.”

The ’Hawks improved to an 8-4 overall record after the win and will resume play as they take on Carthage College (6-4) at Racine Tennis Club on March 11.

“It will be on their home court so we’re going to have to come to play,” Barnes said.  “We’ve come up with a couple big matches ourselves, and these teams are going to try and do the same thing to us.”

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