Starting strong

The Wheaton men’s tennis team played John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” to celebrate a 2-1 record this past weekend.

        The Thunder kicked off the weekend with a tough match against UW-Whitewater on Friday. Seniors Justin Ancona and Matt Steiner continued to perform well on the court as they captured a victory at #1 doubles. Unfortunately, it was not enough as the Thunder found themselves down 2-1 heading into singles play. Sophomore Dane Paulsen and Steiner kept Wheaton in the match, winning their respective singles matches to tie the match score at 3-3. Freshmen Jeremiah Yi continued the comeback as he earned a victory at #4 singles to account for Wheaton’s fourth match point. As the match continued, the Thunder dropped to more matches and fell in a final match score of 5-4.

        Although Wheaton lost in a close match, the team came away with a positive outlook. “This year we are having close matches with teams we used to not be able to hang with,” said Steiner.

        The men used this momentum in their next two matches on Saturday as they took on Grinnell College and Ohio Wesleyan University. Ancona and Steiner continued to play well at #1 doubles as they gave Wheaton one match point heading into singles play. Ancona gave the Thunder a key victory, leading the Thunder’s comeback at #1 singles with a 6-0, 6-0 victory. The Thunder continued with this momentum as they won four of the six total singles matches. This gave the team an exciting 5-4 match victory.

        Later that afternoon, the Thunder followed a similar storyline against Ohio Wesleyan University. Wheaton continued to dominate in the singles play as Ancona, Paulsen and Steiner won the first three singles matches. Senior Andrew Torok was then able to give Wheaton a much-needed victory to give them another close 5-4 match victory.

        Although the season is still young, the Thunder are showing some early potential. “We all put in a lot of work this offseason in the fall and it’s really been paying off,” Steiner said.

The work the team has put in on the court has certainly shown these past few matches. The team-building that is going on off the court is also having a positive effect on the team.

“I really want to build team unity this year through small groups and doing things together as a team outside of tennis,” Steiner explained as one of the senior leaders of the team.

        The Thunder look to build on their early success as they take on Wabash College on Saturday at the Centre Court Athletic Club in Hanover, Ill.

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