Tennis still fragile heading to final match
Published: Friday, April 6, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Another event, another loss seems to be the trend of DePaul’s men's tennis team as of late. During this past week, the men continued their downward spiral with placing fourth place at the Sun Belt Shootout followed by a shutout loss against Norte Dame. With the losses, DePaul’s record fell to 11-13 and gave them a losing record for the first time this season.
“It didn’t go as well as we had hope,” said Coach Matt Brothers. For a while, it seemed like momentum was building at the Sunbelt Shootout in Murfeesboro, TN. On the first day of the two day tournament, the team came away with an impressive 4-0 victory over Florida Atlantic. This set them up with a match against South Alabama, a team they had beaten earlier in the year.
However, it was South Alabama who edged out a 4-2 win.
“They changed their line up a little bit and I thought the match ups would be good for us,” Brothers said. “It turns out it wasn’t.”
The losses for the Blue Demons didn’t stop there. In the next match, Georgia State pulled out a 4-3 victory. The match was tied at 3-3, but it was poor double’s play that ended up being the difference for DePaul.
“We are kind of struggling in doubles,” said senior Matija Palinic. “ We dropped in performing our serves and returns. I think that’s our biggest issue right now. If we can improve in that field, our overall confidence will go to a higher level for sure.”
After the disappointing weekend, the Blue Demons had a tough rebound opponent against Norte Dame on April 4. Clearly the superior team, the No. 43 ranked Notre Dame swept the match 7-0.
The string of losses has put the team in a tough spot. The Sunbelt Shootout and the match up against Notre Dame was supposed to rebuild confidence leading into this month’s Big East tournament. Instead, the team’s morale is still fragile.
On the bus ride home, Brothers gave a pep talk to resonate with his players going forward.
Stressing the importance of intensity in practice and being prepared for matches, Brothers pleaded for his team to get back to the basics. It was a message that hit the players, according to Palinic.
“We were definitely excited about it,” he said. “We’ll do our best to do whatever he set up for us and for ourselves. Overall, as much as we are playing for Coach, we are playing for ourselves and the university. It’s in all in our best interest to do our best on the court.” Regardless, it will be up to the players to perform on the court. On April 14, the men will share their last game of the season with the women both playing Marquette before they travel for the Big East conference tournament.
With the tournament right around the corner, Brothers and his team are prepared for the challenges that face them.
“I don’t think it’s a bad place for us to be in right now. I still believe in the guys and I think the guys still believe in themselves,” Brothers stated.
“I still think there are some good things to come in the next couple of weeks.”