Going into the match against Washington University (Mo.), the Webster University men’s tennis team knew what it was up against. WashU was ranked 15th in the country and finished fourth in the national tournament last season. The Gorloks took their 13-match win streak — a program record — to the courts against WashU.
What resulted was a 9-0 sweep by the Bears as Webster’s win streak was halted on Friday, March 29 in Clayton, Mo.
Senior Ricky Eaves said the loss was still a great learning experience for the Gorloks.
“WashU was physically quicker than us, and their mental game was a lot stronger than ours — something that we’ve never really faced in competition,” Eaves said. “(WashU is) probably the best team I’ve seen in all my four years of college tennis.”
Senior Francisco Cortez went up against the No. 3 player in the country, Adam Putterman. Cortez was bested at No. 1 singles as he dropped his match 6-2, 6-0. Diego Alarcon, playing in the second spot, lost 6-1, 6-0.
Alarcon said the team felt down after the win streak was snapped, but the loss could provide the Gorloks with valuable experience for later in the season.
“It was kind of sad because we were playing really good,” Alarcon said. “But still, we were still really competitive. I know WashU is one of the best in the country, so I think we’re still going to do good the rest of the season. It’s going to be just one loss.”
Senior Agustin Villalba was swept at No. 3 singles 6-0, 6-0. Freshman Travis Blair was taken down at the fourth slot 6-0, 6-0. Eaves lost 6-0, 6-1 at No. 5. Senior Josh Sellmeyer won the most games for Webster in the match but lost at No. 6, 6-1, 6-3.
Coach Michael Siener said he had an idea of what the match against WashU would entail, but when he created the 2013 schedule, he wanted to prepare his team for the tougher matches in the season.
“I kind of know what kind of program they (WashU) have — always one of the top programs in the country,” Siener said. “I knew for our guys to go in there, it was going to be an immense challenge for us to beat them, but I thought it was great for our guys to get out there and play somebody really good.”
The Gorloks lost all three of their doubles matches against the Bears. At No. 1 doubles, Cortez and Villalba fell 8-1. The duo of Eaves and sophomore Josh Papes lost 8-0 at No. 2, and Sellmeyer and Alarcon dropped their match 8-3.
Siener said the program-record win streak is a testament to the work ethic of the men’s tennis team.
“Anytime you have something like that, or you break a record or you do something well, it’s good for the guys — how much effort and hard work they put into it,” Siener said. “I’m just happy for the guys, and any success they can get I think is a credit to their work ethic and how hard they work and how good they are.”
Before the battle against the Bears, the Gorloks took on Lindenwood University-Belleville (Ill.) on Thursday, March 28 in Belleville, Ill. Webster won its 13th game of the season with an 8-1 victory.
Alarcon and Sellmeyer, playing at No. 1 and 6 singles respectively, went to a tiebreaker in their matches but came away victorious. The same two partnered up at No. 3 doubles and took down their opponents 8-1.
The men’s tennis team’s record stands at 13-2 (3-0 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference). Next up for the Gorloks is a match against SLIAC foe Greenville College (Ill.). The Panthers are 6-4 (2-0 SLIAC). The two squads will face off on Thursday, April 4 in Greenville, Ill., at 5 p.m.
Alarcon said the team needs to keep its concentration up against Greenville in order to come out victorious. Webster has won every match against Greenville since 2010.
“If we’re mentally in the game, we’re going to win the game,” Alarcon said. “All of us are really united. We know this has to be our year (to win conference). I think with a lot of hard work and perseverance, we’re going to do a good job this Thursday.”