Tennis goes 2-1 in Illinois

Alexander Weck

The LU men’s tennis team (4-4) went 2-1 on the weekend weekend against three south division conference opponents. On Friday, the Vikings defeated Illinois College 6-1. On Saturday morning, the Vikings fell to Monmouth 2-5 before rebounding with a 5-2 victory over Knox in the afternoon.
“It was a good learning experience for us,” commented first-year coach Ross Anderson. “It was our first time outdoors and our guys handled it well.”
On Friday LU pulled away from IC with two singles matches that went to three sets. No. 1 and 2 singles players Fabrice Munyakazi-Juru and Dan Hertel both dropped their first sets 2-6 before turning around and prevailing in third-set super-tiebreakers. The lower half of Blueboys’ lineup posed no problems for Lawrence as Nick Dufficy, Kyle Nodarse, and Philip Roy all pulled off straight-set victories.
Saturday morning the Vikes fell to a greatly improved Monmouth squad. After finishing last season with a 9-14 record, the Fighting Scots started the day at 13-6. The Vikings started strong, seizing the doubles point with the clutch help of a 9-7 victory from the No. 3 tandem of Tomas Romano and Travis Fondow. “We had been working on doubles play all week,” noted Anderson. “That was a key victory at No. 3,”
Munyakazi-Juru’s 6-4, 6-2 singles victory would be the only other point for Lawrence against Monmouth. Roy and Fondow had close matches at No. 3 and 6 but couldn’t pull away in the end. “That match could have gone either way,” says Hertel regarding the closeness of the meet.
That afternoon, 15 miles down the road from Monmouth, LU took care of Knox 5-2. Munyakazi-Juru, Hertel, Roy, and Nate Kish all picked up victories along with wins at No. 1 and 3 doubles.
“We have been experimenting with different lineups at the low singles positions,” said Anderson. “We’ve been improving.” Kish picked up a win at No. 5 against Knox after having lost at No. 3 against IC and No. 4 against Monmouth. After winning at No. 6 against IC, Roy was bumped to No. 3 and played two close matches at that spot. Coach Anderson hopes to continue to move the lineup around until the best ordering can be figured out.
Munyakazi-Juru went undefeated in both doubles and singles competition over the weekend. He has now won five straight matches in both singles action and doubles play with Hertel. “Fabrice has been playing well lately,” comments Anderson. “We have been working on his mental game and his consistency.