Dissapointing end to tennis season

Tim Ruberton

The Lawrence men’s tennis team wrapped up the season with an eighth place overall finish at the Midwest Conference individual championships in Madison last weekend.
The Vikings were led by No. 1 singles player Fabrice Munyakazi-Juru, who lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Aaron Sunday of St. Norbert College, and No. 2 singles player Dan Hertel, who won the consolation title in his bracket.
Senior Munyakazi-Juru won his first match against Brandon Stacey of Monmouth (6-2, 6-2) before falling to Sunday (6-3, 7-5). Hertel, a freshman, was knocked out of the winners’ bracket by St. Norbert’s Andrew Winters (6-4, 6-3) but took super-sets from Steve Petrovich of Knox College (10-4) and Robert Burda of Lake Forest College (10-5) to salvage the consolation win. No. 3 Phil Roy, No. 4 Nate Kish, and No. 5 Nick Dufficy went winless in the tournament.
The No. 6 player, freshman Travis Fondow, was knocked out of the main bracket by Monmouth’s Alex Carter (6-3, 7-5) but won his first consolation match over Ryan MacDonald of St. Norbert (10-5) and pushed the consolation final against Carroll’s Dave Bingham before a fluke accident and resulting injury forced him to retire from the match.
The doubles matches were something of an improvement, despite the injury to Fondow. The No. 1 pair of Munyakazi-Juru and Hertel went winless, but the No. 2 team of Dufficy and Kyle Nodarse made it through to the consolation final before falling to Ben Metzler and Ryan Manis of MWC North Division champion Ripon.
The big surprise was the performance of the ad-hoc No. 3 pairing of Roy and junior Tom s Romano. Romano usually pairs with Fondow, but the aforementioned injury forced the Vikings to improvise.
The new partners fought through a play-in match against Sam Spencer and Ryan MacDonald of St. Norbert (6-3, 7-6 [7-2]) and a second round match over Matt Aslesen and Grisha Grigoriev of Knox (6-4, 7-6 [7-4]), losing only in the semifinals to eventual champions Jordan Lee and Eric Ohrn of Grinnell (6-0, 6-0).
Romano recalls going into the match thinking, “Without a partner, we didn’t stand a chance,” but being pleasantly surprised by the result. “Phil Roy and I played marvelously. Like peas and carrots.”
The tournament marked the end of a difficult season for the Lawrence men, who suffered in this tournament’s seedings due in part to a bad run in division matches last month. The Vikings were 1-5 in April, losing consecutive meets to rivals Grinnell, Ripon and Carroll, as well as the season finale against St. Norbert.
Still, the team is optimistic about the future. Said Roy, “I was really proud of how the guys, especially the freshmen . put up a good fight against strong opposition . it’s been a season of transition but I have a lot of faith in Coach Anderson and some of the young talent we have, and look forward to bigger successes next year.”
Fondow, despite his injury, was positive about the season. “Our record isn’t a reflection of the type of season we had. We had a ton of fun and had great leadership from our few upper-classmen,” he said. “We will miss the seniors [Munyakazi-Juru and Kish], but in general the team is mostly freshmen, so look for us to dominate next year.