The Weber State University men’s tennis team improved to 5-2 in conference play last week after losing to University of Montana on Sunday and winning against Idaho State University on Tuesday.
On Sunday afternoon, WSU suffered a tough loss to UM, falling 1-6 in the indoor match-up. The Wildcats got off to a slow start in the doubles matches as sophomores Caio Poitena and Peter Ramstrommer-Pello lost the number two match 2-8.
Senior Dave Hintze and junior Ryan Garner did not fare much better as they lost the number three match 3-8. Senior Simon Unger and sophomore Oliver Good proved to be the one bright spot for WSU. They won the number one match 8-4.
After winning the doubles point, the UM Grizzlies quickly swept four of the six singles matches. Good lost the number two match, 2-6 in the first set and 1-6 in the second. Ramstromer-Pello and Poitena fell in the number three and five matches, Ramstromer-Pello losing 1-6, 3-6 and Poitena 3-6, 2-6.
The Wildcats also lost the number six match as Garner fell 2-6, 3-6. In the number four match, Hintze took the first set 7-6 but was unable to pull out a win as he lost the next two sets 3-6 and 7-10.
The Wildcats’ only success Sunday came in the number one match as Unger won both of his sets by the score of 6-1. The loss dropped WSU to 4-2 while UM remained undefeated in Big Sky Conference play with a 4-0 record.
WSU hosted the ISU Bengals on Tuesday afternoon in a crucial conference match. WSU struggled early as they lost the doubles point for the second consecutive match.
Unger and Good were the only WSU pair to win their doubles match, winning the number one match with a score of 8-3. The win marked the pair’s fifth consecutive win in doubles matches.
Unfortunately, the Wildcats struggled in the number two and three matches. Poitena and Ramstromer-Pello lost 4-8 in the number two match while Hintze and Garner fell short in the number three match, losing 6-8.
Despite the slow start, the Wildcats came out on fire in the singles matches. Unger quickly took the number one match in two sets, winning 6-3 in the first set and 6-1 in the second.
In the number six match, Garner also quickly dispatched his opponent, winning in two sets 6-3, 6-4.
ISU took the next two matches as Ramstromer-Pello lost the number three match 4-6, 3-6, and Poitena fell 3-6, 1-6 in the number five match.
With the Bengals holding a 3-2 lead over the Wildcats, all eyes fell on the number two and number four matches, where both Good and Hintze had managed to rally from first set losses, taking the second sets and forcing the matches to a third set. Good managed to win his third set 6-3, giving him the match win, which tied the score at 3-3.
All attention turned to Hintze in the number four match, as he went back and forth with his opponent. Down 5-6, Hintze overcame leg cramps to win the game, tying the set at 6-6. Hintze then took the tiebreaker game, winning the set and match and giving the team the victory.
Head Coach Jared Burnham praised Hintze’s performance after the game, saying that Hintze plays a lot of long matches and always plays hard.
“(Hintze) is probably my hardest working kid,” Burnham said. “He works his butt off, and good things usually happen to those that do.”
Coach Burnham was not the only one to recognize Hintze’s performance. Teammate Good said that he thought Hintze played extremely well. Good also added that this was the first time that the team had won the game despite losing the doubles point. He also said that the team needs to work on its doubles play.
“We need to win the doubles point,” Good said. “Today we were lucky to still win after losing the doubles point.”
The men’s tennis team will go on the road for its next three games, the final game of the road trip being the most crucial as the team will be battling conference rival Eastern Washington University.
One of the keys for WSU’s upcoming games is to work hard on doubles play according to Coach Burnham. He said that the team needs to come out of the gate and win the doubles point. Despite insisting the team needs to focus on doubles play, Coach Burnham gave high praise to his No. 1 doubles team of Unger and Good.
“(They) are probably the best in the Big Sky Conference, and maybe even in Utah,” Burnham said.