The Metro men and women’s tennis teams went undefeated in non-conference play Sept. 24 and 25 at the Auraria Courts.
The men edged the University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6-3, and Colorado State at Pueblo, 6-1, while the women throttled Fort Hays State University, 9-0, and CSU Pueblo, 8-1, on Friday to finish the fall season undefeated.
“That’s definitely the fall that you’re looking for,” second-year Head Coach Beck Meares said.
The men’s team dropped two double matches in lieu of a last-minute lineup change, but won the No. 3 series 8-5 and trailed 2-1 before singles matches began.
“Doubles started out slow today, but we turned it around for singles,” senior Lucio Cangiano said.
The men’s team swept their singles matches in straight sets against Nebraska-Omaha and the doubles teams won in straight sets against CSU Pueblo as well.
“I felt confident and comfortable going into the matches today,” Cangiano said. “I think my biggest competition this year will be myself. Sometimes I get inside my head too much and my thoughts get the best of me.”
The women’s team nearly mirrored the men’s, as they had a few frightening moments in doubles matches against Fort Hays. They won all three doubles matches and went on to win every singles match in straight sets.
Meares said that Fort Hays had a history of downing Metro, but the ’Runners have since braced the team.
“Over the last couple years, we have a stronger women’s team and I think they showed that on Friday morning,” she said.
Both teams are working with new players, and Meares is happy with their progress although they’re lucky the follies in double happened at the right times.
“If anything, they had the mishaps against the teams that we could afford to do that,” said Meares, the 2009 Men’s Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
But, rival Mesa State is a team that the ‘Runners can’t afford to play sloppily against.
The women’s team faltered against Mesa’s top two doubles pairs, but junior Nadia Khamis and sophomore Sam Schall won in the No. 3 doubles spot to bring the team within a point of the Mavericks before the singles matches started.
The singles portion of the women’s competition was close, as four of the six matches went to tie breaking sets. The Metro ladies pulled it off behind senior Alexis Alvarez’ victorious final set.
The men swept their doubles portion, but had a tougher time finishing off the opposition in singles. They dropped three straight matches, but sophomore Mike Riley locked up the win for Metro in two sets.
Meares said she is proud of the progress her team made, not only with their winning percentage in the fall but also how they’ve meshed as a team.
“This year we not only have the talent, but the chemistry is there as well,” Meares said. “Tennis is an individual sport, like when you go out on the court, you’re out there by yourself, but it’s very team oriented as well and you can see that in practice.”
Both teams have completed their fall seasons, but the men’s team will pick up Inter Collegiate Tennis Central Region Championship play, which is more individual-oriented, Oct. 1-3 in Kearney, Neb, Meares said.
Men’s and Women’s teams successful in dual-match play.
Additional reporting by Scott Bassett