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The Lakeland men's tennis team opened its season with a 6-3 non-conference loss to University of Dubuque on Saturday, Mar. 17, in Madison, Wis., but was likely able to learn some important lessons to build and improve on for the rest of the season.
"It was a good starting point," said head coach Ben Oestreich. "All together, it was a positive experience for our team. Hopefully we all took something away from the match that we can use down the road."
Despite the loss, the Muskies started out the match strong with wins in their No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches. Freshmen Andre Glass and Dartanian Taylor combined to take out Dubuque's Olivar de Silva and John Kroll, 8-3, in the No. 1 match, while junior Devin Doyle and sophomore Matt Rutlin teamed up to defeat Jose Garcia and Ian Book in the No. 2 match, 8-4.
"I could tell we were a little tentative in our first matches, plagued with double faults and unforced errors," Oestreich said. "After some early miscues, Andre and Dartanian rebounded well and controlled the match winning six games in a row. Devin and Matt started strong and played well enough to control the match throughout."
Glass scored Lakeland's lone win in the singles matches, defeating Kroll in the No. 2 match, 6-2, 6-1. Rutlin played a close match with Garcia for the No. 1 singles, but eventually fell 6-7 (7-3), 7-5 (10-8).
"Andre had a dominant performance and Matt had the most even match of the day, winning the first set in a tiebreak 7-3, before eventually falling 7-7 and 10-8 in the second set and subsequent 10 point super tiebreaker in lieu of a third set," Oestreich said.
Junior Mark Meade kept the score close in the first set of his No. 6 singles match with de Silva, 7-5, but dropped the second set, 6-3, for the loss.
In the remaining doubles match at No. 3, Meade and freshman Drazen Cvijanovic were swept, 8-0, by Corey McCarthy and David Jacobson. In the remaining singles action, Taylor fell to DU's Book, 6-1, 6-1, in the No. 3 match while Cvijanovic dropped his match to McCarthy in No. 4 action, 6-0, 6-2. At No. 5, Doyle was defeated by Jacobson, 6-2, 6-3.
The Muskies will continue non-conference play with a two-match homestand with Milwaukee School of Engineering on Saturday, Mar. 24, and Elmhurst on Monday, Mar. 26. Match times are set for 4 p.m. at the Howard's Grove High School tennis courts in Howards Grove, Wis.