Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have seen plenty of success throughout the beginning of the semester. They have combined to go 5-0, with the men claiming three of those wins, including a conference victory over Buena Vista.
The men went on a bit of a Wisconsin tour as they traveled to Wisconsin Lutheran and Ripon on March 3 and 4, respectively. They brought back an 8-1 record from Wisconsin Lutheran and a perfect 9-0 record from Ripon. Senior Jason Derby had a great trip as he combined to go undefeated in his two singles matches and two doubles matches.
“We have some guys new to the varsity lineup, while others are playing new positions in the lineup, so these wins are good confidence builders for the team as we get ready for the majority of our conference schedule,” said Derby.
March 11 finally brought the Duhawks home to play their first match at Alpine Courts, while their campus courts are under construction.
“(The team) is not really affected by having to travel to a different location for a match. This gives us an opportunity to build camaraderie and develop a sense of match toughness. We just have to put our heads down and grind, treating it like we would a home match. The court dimensions are the same no matter where we play, so playing a road match is no excuse to not bring the intensity every time,” said junior Kevin Murphy.
Buena Vista on the 11th was also a conference match, adding to the competition. The Duhawks stepped up to the challenge and beat the Beavers, 7-2, here in Dubuque. Derby continued his excellence on the singles court as he picked up another win, but he and Murphy couldn’t grab the doubles win. The sophomore tandem of Sean Baldwin and Riley Michel picked up the slack, however, and picked up a win against Buena Vista’s Aaron Pluym and Will Connelly.
Assuming the weather doesn’t derail the matches, the Duhawks will be back on the courts in Clinton, IA, on March 17 to take on Concordia Chicago. They will then turn around and come back to Dubuque to face Aurora University on Saturday, March 18.
The Lady Duhawks also played Wisconsin Lutheran and Ripon. The women fared slightly better than the men as they went a perfect 8-0 and 9-0, respectively, against their two opponents. Junior Kylie Dewees and senior Jessica Dickhut led the charge in both matches as they took all their matches at number one and two singles as well as teaming up to take the doubles wins.
The Duhawk tennis program has an interesting dynamic as both teams share a coach, court time and goals.
“It’s really cool that we practice with the women’s team as well. We get along with them, too, and we provide each other with great competition during practice,” said Derby. “The practice activities consist of two main things: Drills to improve our skill sets and point play to help those skills translate to match situations. It’s an important balance between the two, and the balance is determined in part by how close the next match is as well as who it is against. It allows us to get match-ready and improve as tennis players throughout the season.”
The women will look to continue their dominant start to 2017 when they take on Concordia Chicago in Clinton, IA, on Friday, March 17. Like the men, they will return to Dubuque on Saturday to take on the Aurora Spartans.