Thursday May 12, 2011
Men make a“racquet” placing 2nd in conference
By Dusty Kitchen
The Tennis season has come to an end as the Men lost a tough 5-0 decision to Bethany to finish second in the KCAC Conference tournament for the first time since 1980 yet improving two spots from last year’s fourth place finish.
“We went from fourth to second.” Interim Coach Lamonte Rothrock said. “A lot of credit has got to go to Sydney Bwalya for bringing in the players he did and I think we put a scare to Bethany in the finals with some tough matches. I think this makes our program legitimate in qualifying for the tournament last year to now finishing second.”
The Men started the tournament with a Semi-final victory over Friends University with a score of 5-2.The match began with Bulldogs falling behind early, dropping two of three doubles points to the Falcons.
The lone Bulldog’s double victory came with Vyacheslav Bukatin and Thiago Da Silva defeating Colton Heinrich and Cory Cockrell, 8-5.
However, McPherson came back to sweep the top four singles positions, with wins by Bukatin, Ronaldo Filho, Silva, and Igor Guasti lead to the 5-2 victory.
This placed the McPherson Bulldogs in the finals against a tough Bethany Swede squad.
In the finals, Bethany took the first three points of the match with 8-2, 8-3 and 8-3 wins in the three doubles positions.
The Swedes maintained their momentum into singles play with wins at No. 2, 3 and 4 to earn the match victory.
Bukatin was victorious against Matias Leal-Jofre, 6-4, 6-1, but the match ended after Bethany had picked up the decisive point, so it did not count in the score total.
Though disappointed in the loss, Filho is very proud of his team.
“We knew going into the match it was going to be tough,” Filho said. “We went out and played our best, but it wasn’t enough.
“However, I’m very proud of how hard our team played and ready to see what we can do next year,” Filho said.
The Men’s team has all starters returning for next year.
On the women’s side, the team fell short in making it into the KCAC conference tournament, but Rothrock was very happy to see the improvement over the year.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to be able for the team to say they had become better tennis players by the end of the year, and I think all the women can say they are,” Rothrock said. “Our goal for next year is to make the tournament and place fourth and build up the program, much like the men’s team has done.”
Returner Jessica Vincent also feels like after this first year with the team, that next year has some good things ahead.
“I feel like as the year went on we came together as a team and that really helped with our improvement and I’m really excited for next year,” Vincent said. “I feel like we have a lot of potential to be very good for next year and we know what it takes.”