Nyden Hill – Staff Writer
This past Saturday, the Gustavus men’s tennis team took to the courts in an effort to extend their three-game winning streak in a double-header against UW-Eau Claire and Saint Mary’s, respectively. Coming into the matches, the Gusties were riding victories over St. Olaf College, St. Scholastica College, and Central College. With this momentum in mind, the Gusties certainly had some confidence heading into the match-ups.
“Overall, all the boys were pumped and excited going into the first match against Eau Claire. Especially after a hard working week of practice, we all discussed how important it was to come with the same energy and focus into the header against Eau Claire,” Sophomore Taona Mhwandagara said.
With this in mind, it is important to note that success is nothing surprising when it comes to Gustavus men’s tennis. Gustavus has claimed the MIAC Conference title in each of the past two seasons leading up to the 2022-2023 season, so it comes as no surprise that the Gusties have some lofty expectations for themselves as they go for a three-peat.
The first of the two matches played on Saturday was one against UW-Eau Claire. While the Gusties definitely stood out as the favorite, boasting an overall record of 7-2, the Bluegolds held an impressive record of their own (5-2), riding a three-match winning streak against MSOE, UW-Stevens Point, and St. Scholastica.
“We knew coming into the Eau Claire match that that team is very tough. We were using this opportunity to practice keeping our energy high throughout the entire day, to prepare for this upcoming weekend. It was important to play our way because we know that our way is the best way to play,” Sophomore Odin Fouchier said.
Against Eau Claire, the Gusties found immediate success in doubles. The pair of seniors, Nick Aney and Daniel Fouchier, led the way for the Gusties and won their match with a score of 8-6. Following this strong showing, the Gusties were able to win their second and third doubles matches, both with scores of 8-3.
Following the doubles matches, the Gusties continued to flex their muscles with a singles sweep. Playing in the number one singles spot, Sophomore Marco Siviero defeated his opposition 6-3, 6-1. Following this dominant performance, Senior Daniel Fouchier defeated his opposition 6-1, 6-4. Following these two matches, the Gusties were able to win the remaining four singles matches, thus completing the sweep. Gustie Senior Alex Budde, who participated in both doubles and singles, had this to say following the Eau Claire victory: “One thing we always strive for is good doubles. In both matches we started off with a 3-0 lead because of that, so that’s always an advantage we look to have going into singles.”
With this win against Eau Claire, the Gusties were able to extend their winning streak to four consecutive match-ups, and look to continue their previous mindset with another win against Saint Mary’s University.
“The mindset stayed the same. Because of the incredible depth of our team, other guys than the guys who played Eau Claire were able to compete against St. Mary’s. They were still focused on the present and competed very well. The entire team kept the energy we had during the Eau Claire match,” Fouchier said.
After handily beating UW-Eau Claire, the Gusties proved to maintain their composure and defeat SMU by an even bigger margin, with Sophomore Rafa Costa defeating his opponent 6-1, 6-3, and the rest of the lineup following suit. In doubles, the duo of Senior Drew Elofson and First Year Tyler Haddorff led the way with an 8-0 doubles victory, with the additional two doubles lineups defeating their opponents 8-1.
With this strong showing at home, the Gusties look forward to continuing this momentum at the ITA National Indoor Tournament at the Swanson Tennis Center.
“The only thing really on our mind now is National Indoors. This weekend is big for end of the year seeding, future tournament seeding, and sets a tone for the rest of the season. Winning the MIAC and doing well in NCAA’s are always goals we have but indoors is the only thing on our mind at the moment,” Budde said.
With this big tournament coming up, we wish the Gusties the best of luck as they look to continue to build on their already amazing season.