Led by senior Ricky Eaves, who is 8-0 overall to start the season, the Webster…
Men’s tennis improve to 4-1 in Villalba’s final matches of the 2011-2012 season
The Webster University men’s tennis team defeated Lindenwood University-Belleville 8-1 and Concordia Seminary 7-2 on Oct. 8 at Webster Groves Tennis Center. The Gorloks improved to 4-1 overall with the two wins.
It was Webster’s last matches until the spring season begins in February. However, one of the team’s top players, junior Agustin Villalba, won’t be available to play in the spring season while he studies abroad in Geneva and Vienna. It was a choice Villalba knew he had to make.
“I made a tough decision to decide that,” Villalba said. “Since I came to Webster I knew I was going to lose my junior year spring season. I wanted to study abroad, stay over the summer, do an internship and travel. It was the only time I could go.”
Villalba will be a major loss to the team, but coach Michael Siener believes the team is strong enough to play through it.
“He’s going to be a big loss,” Siener said. “However, I look at it as opportunities for other guys to step up. It’s disappointing that he’s leaving, but I totally understand. The academics come first. He can’t pass up the experience. We have enough guys who’ve been working hard who will step up and fill his void.”
Juniors Diego Alarcon, Ricky Eaves and Josh Sellmeyer proved they’re ready to step up. They each went 4-0 against Lindenwood and Concordia, while freshman Josh Papes went 3-0.
Eaves believes this is the best tennis he’s played while at Webster. He’s determined to win in the finals of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference singles tournament after losing the last two years.
“It’s probably going to be my best year at Webster,” Eaves said. “It has to do with my determination. I’ve lost in the finals of the SLIAC the last two years. I’ve been really pumped about this coming season. I’m just ready to take it to that next level.”
Siener likes where the team is at heading into the offseason even knowing Villalba won’t be available in the spring.
“It’s nice to have this fall season,” Siener said. “It’s given me a little bit of a look for all our newcomers. Out of our conference we were the only team that played that many matches in the fall. That gives us a competitive edge. It allows us to see different things, and it should give us a leg up on everybody in our league.”
The team will be preparing for the spring season during the offseason. The coaching staff will give individual players specific things to work on. The team will also be playing on indoor courts in order to stay fresh for the spring season.
“Everybody has a positive attitude and is playing well,” Eaves said. “We want to get better in the offseason so we can come out this spring stronger than ever.”
Villalba is already planning for the 2012 fall season in order to stay on top of his game while studying abroad.
“I don’t know how much I’m going to be able to play in Europe,” Villalba said. “But once I’m back in the summer, I’ll play a lot like I did this past summer.”
Webster’s first match of the spring season is a Feb. 11, 2012, contest against Illinois College in Jacksonville, Ill.