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Men's Tennis Shows Strength at ITA Regionals
By: Ashley Hofer, Sports Information Student
ST. PETER, Minn. (UWECBlugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's tennis team took to the courts for the first time this fall and found some success against the top singles and doubles players in the region at the three-day USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championship hosted by Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.).
The Blugolds had three singles players and two doubles teams competing in the ITA tournament, and all were continually plagued by players from rival UW-Whitewater. Chris Kuna (Jr.-Edina, Minn.), seeded No. 5 in the singles events, made it all the way to round three before falling to a Whitewater opponent (6-4, 4-6, 10-3). Eric Wollum (Sr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) and Lars Olson (Sr.-De Pere, Wis.) both fell to their opponents in the second round.
In doubles competition, the team of Kuna and Olson entered the tournament seeded second and supported the high ranking by progressing all the way to the fourth round. However, they lost to a Whitewater team in a close 9-7 match. A Warhawk team also eliminated the duo of Wollum and Dirk Van Rybroek (Jr.-Madison, Wis./Edgewood) from competition in an 8-2 round two match.
Ten Blugolds also played in the Midwest Open Singles and Doubles tournament, with several Eau Claire players making a deep run into the bracket. Florent Marco (So.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) earned three decisive victories in the first three rounds before succumbing to the eventual champion in round four. David Stingley (So.-St. Paul, Minn./Highland Park) also had success in early rounds – including a 6-0, 6-0 shutout in round one - until falling in a tough third round match (6-7, 6-0, 10-8).
All four Eau Claire teams in doubles play made it into the third round of competition. The pair of Joe Wollum (Fr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) and Andrew Carlos (Fr.-Menomonee Falls, Wis.) recorded three consecutive 8-6 wins en route to a fifth round, 8-5 loss to the Whitewater team who went on to win the championship. Brayden Parman (Fr.-Beaver Dam, Wis.) and Joe Meier (Fr.-Hutchinson, Minn.) sailed into the fourth round of play, but eventually lost in a 9-7 fight to a team from Carleton College (Minn.).
The weekend winners of the ITA events advance to the National Small College Championships on Oct. 14 to 17 in Mobile, Ala. The Blugolds’ next scheduled match is in early February against Coe College (Iowa).