By Roderick M. Wilbon, Sports Editor
The University of Missouri-St. Louis Men’s and Women’s Tennis are back on the courts. UMSL is braving the cold temperatures at home but staying red-hot against opponents. On March 9, UMSL faced University Illinois Springfield and on March 10, UMSL faced Southwest Baptist.
On Friday, the men did not fare well in doubles losing two of the three matches. In singles matches the pillar of strength Ben-Hur Kasprzak, sophomore, business administration, lead the way in #1 Singles. Kasprzak won his match 6-3, 6-2 after winning in #2 doubles, too. He stayed on the sideline after his matches rooting for the rest of the team.
The captain of the men’s team Alberto Maza, senior, finance, made short work of his opponent in his #5 singles match. The captain is a quiet, calm, threat on the court winning 6-1, 6-3. Rob White, junior, information systems, was the last match of the day his #4 match would test the sunlight left in the day. White is the loud, groaning, grunting, big serving, brit with his occasional, “Come on!” His match would be moved to an indoor site to finish the match. White won 7-6, 6-2. The men’s overall score was 5-4, with UMSL taking the day from UIS.
The Lady Tritons completely blew out UIS only losing in the #6 singles match. The duo of Salome Bleuler, junior, psychology and business, and Marina Prediger, sophomore, business, played #1 and #2 singles. The two are so good, at times heated rivals, and interchangeable at the one and two spots. UMSL beat UIS 8-1 on the day.
Saturday’s battles would be much harder for UMSL. Southwest Baptist University Men’s tennis team come in ranked nationally ranked #13. The Women’s Team of SBU come in nationally ranked # 18. The men were decimated by SBU losing 9-0 on the day. Kasprzak and Maza were the only two that could put up a fight to try to fend off SBU. The Men will pick themselves back up on the road vs three teams in Hilton Head, South Carolina
The Lady Tritons would have the opposite happen though. The upset was in effect and did take place. UMSL lost doubles 1-3, but won singles 4-2. Bleuler took on the heavy load in #1 singles winning 6-4,7-5; while Prediger in #2 singles won handedly 6-0,6-2. The rest of the singles were evenly matched and could have gone either way. UMSL took the upset though winning 5-4 versus SBU.
The Lady Tritons will also be on the road to keep up the streak against various teams in Hilton Head, South Carolina UMSL returns home March 21 vs Southern Indiana in both Men’s and Women’s Tennis.