Western Courier

Tennis teams struggle for wins

Western Illinois Media Services and Tom Loftus contributed to this report.

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Victories have been difficult to come by for the Western Illinois men’s and women’s tennis teams this spring, although the Leatherneck men did manage to record a morale-building win against a fellow Illinois competitor recently.

Western’s men’s team picked up its first win of the season last Wednesday (Feb. 15), 9-0 over the Illinois College Blueboys of Jacksonville, Ill., a winless (0-3) NCAA Division III team.

“It was good to get our first win of the season,” said Leathernecks head coach Chris Kane said. “We played a very business-like match, never letting our opponents get into it.”

Patrick Hammers at No. 1 singles, Ben Yue at No. 2 singles and Jim Capalbo at No. 3 singles each held their respective opponents scoreless, earning dominant 6-0, 6-0 wins. Hammers beat Colin Ladd; Yue topped John Hoefert; and Capalbo defeated Joshua Kuehn.

Three members of the men’s team tallied the first wins of their Leatherneck careers. Andrew Yopp was victorious at No. 4 singles (6-1, 6-0) over Michael Gilbreth; Daniel Sweeney got the best of Xander Benziger at No. 5 singles (6-3, 6-0); and Justin Liss won at No. 6 singles, 6-0, 6-0, over Tim Johnson.

In doubles action, Western held its opponent to just 2 points overall. The No. 1 pair of Hammers and Yue beat Ladd and Gilbreth, and the No. 2 duo of Capalbo and Yopp stopped Kuehn and Hoefert, both by 8-1 scores, while the No. 3 team of Sweeney and Liss won 8-0 over Benziger and Johnson.

“Our team has been decimated by injuries and illness, resulting in four of our six starters being lost for the season,” Kane said. “Despite those setbacks, our remaining players have played a very high level of tennis this season. I’m really proud of them and appreciate their tenacity on the court every match.”

Last Saturday, it was Western (1-3) that found itself on the wrong end of a 7-0 meet score, falling to host Marquette (4-3).

At No. 4 singles, Yopp gave opponent Cameron Tehrani a good battle before falling 6-4, 6-0. Hammers and Yue each saw their personal records drop to 2-3 with their losses at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively.

Capalbo at No. 3 singles and Sweeney at No. 5 singles fell 6-2, 6-0  and 6-1, 6-0, respectively. Liss was swept at No. 6 singles (6-0, 6-0).

In doubles competition, Western’s No. 1 duo of Hammers and Yue was defeated 8-2; the No. 2 pair of Yopp and Capalbo lost 8-1; and the No. 3 doubles team of Liss and Sweeney was blanked 8-0.

Western’s women’s tennis team, meanwhile, remained winless (0-4) after falling to host Northern Iowa, 7-0, last Saturday afternoon.

“We played another very good team today in Northern Iowa and they deserved to win,” Kane said. “I thought we had an improved level of play from Jessica Callahan and Juliette Schwartz, even though the scores may not indicate so. Ashley Rettger put up an excellent battle against an outstanding player from Germany at No. 1 singles.”

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Tennis teams struggle for wins