New faces lift Bulldogs to season-opening win

By on Feb. 23, 2014 in Men's Tennis

New faces lift Bulldogs to season-opening win

LINCOLN, Neb. – Concordia men’s tennis newcomers combined on a pair of singles victories and the team’s only doubles triumph to help secure a season-opening 5-4 win over Simpson College (Iowa) in Lincoln on Sunday. With the team score knotted at 4-4, freshman Javier Moreno came through with a straight-sets win, 7-6 (3), 7-5, at No. 2 singles to move the Bulldogs to 1-0.

“I’m very happy about how our opener went,” said graduate assistant coach James Ingrahm. “There is no such thing as a bad win. It was a tough adjustment moving from the slower surface we usually practice on to the almost lightning fast hard courts at Woods (Tennis Center).

“All the boys did well and changed their styles of play to suit the conditions.”

Moreno and teammate Patricio Esquivel, both of Morelia, Mexico, won singles matches at the 2 and 5 spots, respectively. They also paired up on an 8-4 victory at No. 2 doubles to keep the Storm from sweeping doubles play.

Concordia’s additional wins came from senior Mike McCartney at No. 4 singles and from freshman Philip Yox, another new face, at No. 6. McCartney topped Dylan Hogan, 6-3, 6-2. Yox breezed to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Mike Rundle.

“I’m very glad the freshmen all collectively and individually had their first tastes of victory,” Ingrahm said.

In the only singles match to go to three sets, Simpson’s Zach Kusick prevailed 6-1, 3-6, 10-5 over Concordia senior Nathan Wingfield at the top of the lineup. Fellow senior Joel Kaldahl dropped a 6-2, 6-4 decision at No. 3.

“Nathan showed tremendous growth as a player as he was able to quickly forget about a tough first set,” Ingrahm said. “He played with more maturity and higher levels of concentration in the second set. One very unlucky point in the third set tiebreak proved to be the turning point of the match.”

Simpson, a member of the NCAA Division III Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, is now 3-5 on the season.

The Bulldogs will be back in action on Friday when they host for the first time in 2014. Bethany College (Kan.) will serve as the opponent for a match that will get started at 4 p.m. inside the Walz Fieldhouse.

With a match under their belts, Ingrahm has a better idea of what facets need improvement before Friday.

“It highlighted certain key areas we need to fine tune a little more, particularly with regard to controlling the net from start to finish,” Ingrahm said.