Tennis squad faces tough competition

Warhawks fall to D-I UW-Green Bay on the road

John Miller, Staff Writer

After  a five-match winning streak, the UW-Whitewater men’s tennis team (5-3) was defeated on the road 7-0 on Feb. 24 vs.
UW-Green Bay.

The Warhawk loss was headlined by the duo of sophomore Rory Calabria and freshman Zach Wood, who were narrowly defeated in a 6-5 doubles match at the No. 2 spot. The pair surged ahead to a 3-0 advantage, but UW-Green Bay was able to knot things up a 5-5 before claiming the match in the tiebreaker.

Head coach Frank Barnes said he wasn’t all that disappointed in his team’s play, instead it was more about the stiff competition faced in Division-I opponent
UW-Green Bay.

“The competition was on a different level,” Barnes said. “All their players are high level players with ITF (International Tennis Federation) tournament experience.”

Sophomore Jimmy Engelhart said he shared a similar view to his coach and doesn’t believe the play of the team vs. UW-Green Bay was all that different when compared to the winning streak.

“I don’t think that we played worse,” Engelhart said. “Everyone stepped up and brought their game this weekend. A big thing we focus on is controlling the factors we are able to control.”

Other notable Warhawk performances included junior Grant Thompson, who at the No. 1 singles spot was able to take six games (6-2, 6-4). Calabria and Wood were both able to secure four games in singles competition, with 6-1, 6-3 being the final score for both players.

Although the defeat came in a sweeping fashion, the loss doesn’t shake the confidence of
the ’Hawks.

“We definitely have a positive mindset even after the loss to Green Bay,” Engelhart said. “All around we have been playing some really great tennis these past couple weekends and we are trying to build on that moving forward without this loss getting in the way.”

The UW-W men’s tennis team annually bolsters one of the toughest schedules in Division III. The match against the Phoenix was the second Division I opponent faced for the Warhawks this season.

“Anytime you can put yourself in an individual sport like tennis against some really good competition you have to push your body to the limit and you have to come up with the goods during the match,” Barnes said. “That’s the reason we do it, for the individual improvement.”

Engelhart elaborated on that individual improvement that comes with squaring off against top level opponents.

“It’s helpful to get to see how D-I guys prepare for the match and play their game,” Engelhart said. “I definitely learned a lot from this weekend.”

Feb. 25 marked a more lighthearted match as the alumni event in Lake Geneva took place for the Warhawks. The event allowed current and former players to join together to play tennis, and bond over the commonality of being Warhawks.

“It’s a good way to re-connect our alumni with the program, introduce them to the team, and have some fun with them.” Barnes said.

The Warhawks will look to start a new winning streak when the team travels to St. Peter, Minnesota on March 4 to take on Gustavus Adolphus University and
Macalester College.