A few nail biter losses gave the Concordia men’s tennis team a 1-4 record in the GPAC. Two of those losses were decided by a 5-4 score. One more loss was to the eventual GPAC champion, Hastings, which ended in a 7-2 decision. One other 5-4 match during the season was the semifinals of the GPAC tournament, which went down as a loss to Midland.
Over the course of the season, the Bulldogs were on the short end of more close matches. Concordia ended the season 7-12 overall with four matches being decided by two or less points.
Head coach Joel Reckewey said, “It’s heart breaking to lose those matches 5-4, but it shows that our team is right there and we’re competing against all the other teams in the conference. They are winnable matches and we are capable to move up in the rankings and be a recognized tennis team. Four times we were one match away from winning. When you know how bad it hurts to lose, then you know next time you’ll step up and do what it takes to win.”
The victories that Concordia has achieved have been due to a solid line up, top to bottom. Willy Pardos (No. 1), Thomas Greef (No. 2) and Gabriel Poling (No. 5) all posted winning records in the GPAC in singles action this season. All three are freshmen and have emerged into the stars of the team.
Pardos finished the season 12-6 overall and 4-1 in the GPAC, playing all matches at the No. 1 spot. In doubles, he was 9-8 with partner Javier Moreno. The duo earned All-GPAC recognition for their doubles play. Pardos was also placed on the all-conference team in singles.
“Having an all-star player in Willy Pardos has benefitted the men’s tennis program in many ways. One being having such a high level player such as Willy shows the team that they are capable of winning. He is a good role model. Having him on the team is awesome because he is the type of player you can build the program around,” Reckewey said.
Pardos, Greef and Poling had a combined 11-4 conference record in singles. The freshman trio joined forces with some of the veteran players to give the program more potential for more victories. Patricio Esquivel and Moreno, both juniors this year, posted a combined 14 wins in singles matches.
Coach Reckewey has noted that having incoming players who get victories helps the current players push themselves that much more to get their own triumphs.
“It doesn’t necessarily take pressure off the other guys,” Reckewey said, “but it helps them to focus in more and get more victories in the other spots because you know you have good players that you trust in those top positions.”
Similar to the women’s team, the men did not graduate any athletes this year and look to keep the momentum rolling into next season. With the close losses in the back of their heads, the Bulldogs will be out for more victories in the upcoming year.