The men’s tennis team got off to a quick start, but dropped their third straight match with a 4-3 loss to the University of Denver on Thursday. Throughout the match, the Bulls showed both resiliency and determination.
With the doubles score tied 1-1, and trailing in their set 4-1, freshmen Henning Hipp and Daniel Daudt battled back to win the set 8-6 to give the Bulls their first point of the match. Coach Don Barr felt his team got a swing of momentum.
“After that set, you could feel the momentum swing from their side to ours,” Barr said. “Those two freshmen showed a lot of heart during that set.”
In singles competition, the Bulls had four players win opening sets, including Hipp and Daudt, who both won their first sets 6-0. Thomas Estrada and Mahmoud Hamed also won their first sets 6-4 and 6-3 respectively.
As the match went on, however, the momentum began to swing back in the Pioneers favor. The Bulls’ top two players, Ales Svigelj and Marc Jaeger, lost in straight sets 6-7, 2-6 and 3-6, 2-6 respectively. Despite his dominant first set, Hipp lost his match in three sets, 6-0, 1-6, 2-6. Coach Barr feels his team has some work to do.
“We need to learn to close out matches,” Barr said. “We’ve been really close against these ranked teams, and I feel like once we get that big win behind us, this team will have the confidence to close out matches. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring our A game today.”
Estrada and Hamed did not have a problem closing out their matches. Estrada easily earned a straight set victory over Kalle Rosen, 6-4, 6-1. Hamed fought to a three-set victory over Niklas Presson 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. With the win, Hamed brought his winning streak up to eight consecutive matches.
Daudt proved his determination in his singles match against Ravjot Dhatt. In the third set tied 4-4, Daudt began to show signs of cramps.
“I started feeling tight in the third set,” Daudt said. “I knew there was a lot of pressure on me, and I had to stay out there and fight.”
Daudt fell to the court in pain on several occasions during the final set, but managed to get back up. Daudt was even assessed a one-game penalty for not being in position to play a point in the allotted time allowed. He managed to finish out the third set, but lost the match 6-0, 4-6, 5-7.The Bulls travel to play rival UCF on Saturday, which is a match Barr is looking forward to.
“We get to play a rivalry game next, against a ranked team,” Barr said. “We really feel like we can beat them.”