This past weekend, the Lawrence University men’s tennis team completed a long road trip filled with three different tennis matches. On Saturday, Apr. 6, they first traveled down to Galesburg, Ill. to take on the Knox Prairie Fire. Later in the day, they took on the Cornell Rams in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Then, on Sunday Apr. 7, they traveled to Grinnell, Iowa to face off against the Grinnell Pioneers before heading home to Appleton. “Long trips are always a burden and we do not have any particular traditions,” explained junior Andrea Arivella. “At the hotel we sometimes watch movies and series all together in one room. In the vans we tend to either do homework, sing old 2000s songs or just try to nap before our matches.”
The Vikings got off to a strong start against Knox as they swept all of the games and claimed the 9-0 victory. Junior Connor Maloney won the No. 1 singles match 6-4, 6-2, junior Cade Francour won at No. 2 singles 6-1, 6-0 and sophomore Evan Oriel won the No. 3 singles match 6-1, 6-0. Their dominance continued as sophomore Matt Chan went a perfect 6-0, 6-0 to win the No. 4 singles match, freshman Cam Strawn won 6-2, 6-1 and Arivella took the team’s sixth win in the competition with a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 6 singles. On the doubles side, all three teams won their matches as well. The team of Maloney and Francour won the No. 1 doubles match 8-1. At No. 2 doubles, the team of Oriel and Chan won their match 8-5 and at No. 3 doubles the team of Arivella and freshman Steven Zemaitis won their match 8-4.
Lawrence got off to a shaky start against Cornell in the doubles competition. Only Arivella and junior Aidan Delgado won their doubles match at No. 3 doubles 8-1. However, the Vikings won four out of the six singles matches to take the overall win, 5-4. Francour won the No. 3 singles match 6-1, 6-1, Chan won the No. 5 singles match 6-2, 6-1, Strawn won the No. 6 singles match 6-4, 6-0 and Oriel won the No. 4 singles match 6-3, 6-3 to seal the Lawrence victory.
Playing doubles can be a rewarding experience. Arivella explained, “I have always considered myself a singles player, but this year I really enjoyed playing doubles, especially at [no.] 3 with Aidan Delgado. We call ourselves the EU team because we are both from Europe, me from Italy and him from Spain.”
The team faced stiff competition on Sunday, as Grinnell was 3-0 in Midwest Conference play and 17-4 overall heading into the match. The Vikings put up a good effort; however, they dropped a tough match 9-0. The team hopes to continue to make good progress in conference play going forward. “During the rest of the season, as a team, we hope to qualify for the conference tournament and make it as far as possible in it,” said Arivella “Personally, at [no.] 3 doubles, me and Aidan [Delgado] have a really good shot at making it really far on our doubles draw at the conference tournament weekend, so the focus for me will be that right now.”
After this weekend, Lawrence’s record stands at 8-8 overall and 3-2 in Midwest Conference play. They are also currently sitting in fourth place in the conference standings. The top four teams qualify for the conference tournament, so the conference standings become key to how the team approaches the end of the season. “The major challenge has been matches before our conference,” Arivella mentioned. “We played some really good teams and suffered some important losses, but it only made us better for conference. I think our pre-conference competition, even if it was a challenge, is definitely going to help us in the last stretch of the season where we have a shot at qualifying second for the conference tournament.”
Lawrence’s men’s tennis is back in action this next weekend on Sunday, Apr. 14, as they travel down to Lake Forest College to face off against another conference opponent. The team has one final home match on Saturday, Apr. 20, when they play host to Ripon College.