The Webster University men’s tennis team came into the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship with hopes of the first SLIAC title in school history. The end result was not in the Gorloks’ favor, as they lost to the Westminster College Blue Jays 5-2 at Kings Point in Belleville, Ill., on Saturday, April 27.
“It was heartbreaking,” freshman Travis Blair said. “Everybody was really upset. There is no good way to spin it, you know — we lost it, and we were right there. It’s unfortunate, but that doesn’t take away from the great season we had.”
The Gorloks were able to end their season with the best record in Webster history at 19-3. The win total trumps their previous season high of 14 in 2011-12. Webster was able to beat Westminster earlier in the year, 5-4. It was the first time in school history Webster defeated Westminster.
In the championship matchup, Webster began the match down 0-3 after doubles play. At No. 3 doubles, seniors Diego Alarcon and Josh Sellmeyer were in a battle with their opponents. But the match ended in a 9-7 defeat.
At No. 1 doubles, seniors Francisco Cortez and Agustin Villalba also lost a tight 9-7 match. Senior Ricky Eaves and Blair fell 8-0 at No. 2 doubles.
Alarcon and Eaves both won their singles matches to move the Gorloks closer to the Blue Jays. But the match was called after Westminster reached its fifth match win.
Blair and Sellmeyer were still on the court when Westminster was declared the winner. Blair was up 7-6, 5-4, while Sellmeyer was ahead 2-1 when play was halted.
Seven seniors in all likelihood played their final match. In their four years at Webster, they helped turn Webster’s program around. As freshmen in 2010, the team finished with 12 wins — double the amount of the previous year — and has climbed higher each year since.
“Hopefully they’ll remember some good memories from their four years and hopefully they’ll remember this season,” coach Michael Siener said. “I’m sure in the future, the season they had will be tough to accomplish for future teams. It was a great year.”
The championship matchup was originally scheduled to be played outdoors at 11 a.m. at Dwight Davis Tennis Center, but was moved indoors due to the rain.
Webster won six straight matches before the loss to the Blue Jays in the title match. The Gorloks, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, had went 5-0 in SLIAC play during the regular season.