Story by Clara Firtos, Contributing writer
The men’s tennis team entered conference play and fell to both Eastern Illinois 5-2 Friday and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Saturday 4-2. With the two losses, the Racers fell to 2-14 overall on the season and find themselves in the midst of a seven game losing streak.
Srdjan Trosic, sophomore from Novi Sad, Serbia, said despite the losses, the team can see and feel progress.
“Every one of us was very focused and very motivated to play all matches from the first ball to the last,” Trosic said. “We tried to give our best and I believe that based on how the season is going, we will only get better and better.”
Sophomore Marcel Ueltzhoeffer from Oftersheim, Germany, helped give the Racers the lead with a win from his No. 1 spot. Ueltzhoeffer lost his first set 7-6 but won the next two 6-3, 7-5. Playing in the No. 6 spot was freshman Javier Villar from Madrid. Trosic won his first set 6-2 but lost the next two 4-6, 4-6.
“I think I did really well at the first match against EIU,” Trosic said. “But the loss was motivation for me to do better.”
Villar won his match right away in the first two sets 6-2, 7-5. At the No. 2 spot was Will True, sophomore from Bowling Green, Kentucky. True lost his match 6-4, 7-6.
As for the No. 1 doubles, Ueltzhoeffer and partner David Schrott, freshman from Mannheim, Germany, lost to their opponents with a score of 6-3. At No. 2, partners, Trosic and David Hess, junior from Louisville, Kentucky, fell to their opponents 0-6. In their doubles match, True and Villar lost as well 7-5. This loss gave the Panthers an early lead of 1-0.
The singles competition started off with Ueltzhoeffer in the No. 1 spot finishing off his opponent with a score of 6-0, 3-6, 6-4. No. 2 player True fought in both sets and won 7-5, 6-0. No. 6 Villar lost his first set 2-6 but made a comeback, winning his second set 7-6. Villar lost his third 2-6. In at No. 3 was Schrott. Schrott lost to his opponent 6-3, 6-2.
“I think that as a young team we are getting more experience from match to match and I think that will be the key for our win,” Trosic said.
Villar and True won their doubles 6-3. Ueltzhoeffer and Schrott were defeated by their opponents 6-1, giving Edwardsville the 1-0 lead.
“We experienced a lot with these two matches, and I think we are ready for our win,”Trosic said.
Men’s tennis will play Austin Peay State April 5 for the OVC. They haven’t won a match since their split match against Tennessee Wesleyan earlier this month.