Men’s Tennis Team loses three matches at Lake Geneva

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Photo Courtesy of Photo Bureau

Cole Schneider ('21) was last week's ARC Tennis Player of the week.

The Luther College Men’s Tennis Team lost their round robin meet in Lake Geneva, WI on Feb. 14 and 15, falling 6-3 to Grinnell College, 5-4 to Wheaton College, and 7-2 to UW-Whitewater. Luther’s overall record fell to 3-3 after the meet.

This meet follows a series of wins in Kenosha, WI the week before, where Luther swept North Central College 5-4, Carthage College 5-4, and Concordia University (WI) 7-2.

Cole Schneider (‘21) and Nyathi Motlojoa (‘22), the 16th ranked doubles team in the nation, went 2-1, falling in 13 sets (8-5) to Alex Gray and Danila Borovykh of UW-Whitewater.

“Our goal is to win the conference and qualify for team nationals,” Schneider said. “We were able to do that last year, so it would be great to do that again.”

After going 2-1 in singles and 3-0 in doubles in Kenosha, Schneider was named the American River Conference’s Men’s Tennis Performer of the Week.

In Lake Geneva, Schneider went 2-1 in singles play, falling to Wheaton’s top singles player, Anderson Park, (6-2, 6-2), while Motlojoa went undefeated in singles play. Brook Norwood (‘21), Ryan Ortega (‘21), Sakchham Karki (‘21), and Charlie Weill (‘22) combined to go 1-11 with Ortega topping Wheaton’s number four player, Jacob Panjwani, (6-4, 6-4). Norwood and Weill added a doubles win over Wheaton’s Nathan Fruh and David Houlihan, 8-2.

After his undefeated meet in singles, Motlojoa was named this weeks ARC Tennis Player of the Week.

Before the meet, Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Adam Strand (‘04) was excited to play these teams to see how Luther stacks up against other teams in their region.

“These are three opportunities for us to play regionally ranked opponents that will provide us with outstanding competition,” Strand said, “Playing teams of this caliber will definitely benefit our players as we progress throughout the spring season.”

Coming into this season, Whitewater is ranked 9th, and Grinnell is ranked 12th in the Central Region, while Luther is ranked 13th.

Despite the results, and the loss of three core members from last year’s team, Strand is confident.

“I hope that our guys continue to show up and work hard on a daily basis,” Strand said. “That way we give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful in our matches throughout the season. This team graduated several key players from last year, but we have already seen guys stepping up early in the season.”

Norwood and Schneider both emphasized how important off-season conditioning will be to their success this season.

“The off-season is a great time to work on things that need improvement,” Norwood said, “There are so many types of shots in tennis that there is always something to work on.”

Besides the more tangible improvements, Schneider said that playing with energy and maintaining a supportive culture is crucial to the team’s sucess.

“There is always a lot of energy on each court no matter what position in the lineup, is playing” Schneider said, “I personally like to feed off my teammate’s energy and that is what makes me love tennis.”

The team currently sits third in the ARC, and the players know what needs to be done to win the conference.

“Even if we have some growing pains in the early portion of the season,” Norwood said, “I am sure we will be ready for the conference tournament come May.”

The Men’s Tennis Team’s next meet is against St. Scholastica on Feb. 22 in Lakeville, MN.

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