Last weekend, Feb. 14-15, the Trinity men’s tennis team went undefeated against Tyler Junior College and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on Friday, and then beat Midwestern State University on Saturday.
This marks the second time that the Tigers have faced off against Tyler Junior College, who are the reigning junior college champions, and the first time that they have beaten them this season. In their first match earlier this season the Tigers fell to them 4-5; however, this time, the men turned the tables and beat them 5-4.
The Tigers came away with two doubles wins, one by senior Greg Haugen and junior Jordan Mayer and the other win from sophomore Paxton Deuel and senior Nicolas Moreno. Then, in the singles, freshman Chas Mayer, Haugen and Jordan Mayer all won their matches to give Trinity the 5-4 win.
“We had a better showing in doubles, went up 2-1 after the doubles this time instead of being down 1-2. We got some much-needed wins from No. 1 and 2 doubles, which was the big thing we were trying to find it that first weekend but never really got it going. Fortunately, we are catching fire at the right moment,” head coach Russell McMindes said.
Freshman Clayton Niess agrees. “We had a really strong showing this weekend. We beat a team that we lost to earlier in the season, which was great to get some redemption. We knew two of the teams, Tyler Junior College and Midwestern State, were going to be tough, so our goal was to start really strong and get ahead in doubles, which we did in both matches. Our strengths had to be our doubles play, as we won most doubles matches.”
The next day, on Saturday, Feb. 15, the Tigers had an 8-1 win over fellow DIII school, Mary Hardin-Baylor. They swept in doubles, going five for six in singles matches. The Tigers remain undefeated against DIII opposition.
Later in the afternoon, the Tigers hosted Midwestern State, which is a DII Texas school. They won the match 5-4, winning two of the doubles and splitting the singles again.
“It was a battle, but we pulled off a big win. Skinner and Haugen played some really close singles matches that they pulled out in the third set and we got two of the doubles wins. Also, Mayer clenched it and pulled off the No. 5 singles win. This is the first match we have played as a whole team, that I have experienced, where we had tons of energy out there and it was a really strong team environment out there,” Deuel said.
Next, the team heads to Cleveland, Ohio, to play in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Indoor Championships from Feb. 21-23. Once there, they face California Lutheran University in their first match on Friday afternoon. If they win that match, they will play one match Saturday and one match Sunday, but if they lose then they play two on Saturday.
“It is our first real national test this coming weekend, and it is important at indoors to see how we stack up against the best teams in DIII. That first round is important to keep us in top half of the draw. We’ve played Cal Lutheran a couple times last year and they got us,” McMindes said. “They’re always a talented team, but they are missing a couple of the pieces they had last year that made them very strong, so we will see. I know they’ve got talent and a great coach, so it is going to be a tough match. We are just excited to get up there and get going.”
The Tigers will not play at home again until a doubleheader on Saturday, March 29, facing Hardin-Simmons at 9 a.m. and Laredo Community College at 3 p.m.