By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor
Both the UNO men’s and women’s tennis teams earned victories over Nebraska-Wesleyan last Friday, dominating the Prairie Wolves by a combined score of 13-1. The Mavs won six doubles matches and all but one of 12 singles matches.
Alex Tran, playing in the women’s no. 1 spot grabbed an easy victory over Erica Dickmeyer 6-0, 6-0 while Carlos Ramos Salazar, in the no. 1 men’s spot, fell to Nate Hoppe 1-6, 4-6.
“We had one loss on the evening and even that could have been and should have been a lot better,” said UNO Tennis Coach Mike Saniuk. “Overall it was nice to get a match under our belts before we play better competition.”
Despite Ramos Salazar’s defeat in singles, he and teammate Anthony Forcucci downed Hoppe and Ryan McCarty in doubles 8-6. Junior Peter Greteman and freshman Connor Larson won their doubles match 8-4 and Ben Williams and Nathan Greteman teamed up for an 8-1 doubles victory.
On the women’s side, the doubles team of Kelsie Olson and Tran won 8-3, freshman Rachel Pierson and senior Heather Hottman earned an 8-5 victory and junior Lindsay Weideman and senior Caitlin Christy dominated 8-2.
However, playing Division I tennis means a different scoring system. In the past, three doubles victories would have earned the men’s and women’s teams three points apiece.
In Division I, teams earn just a single point by winning two out of the three doubles matches. So instead of each team being up 3-0 after doubles matches, the lead was only 1-0 for the men and the women.
But as singles matches started, neither the Maverick men nor women were about to leave any doubt about the outcome. Along with Tran winning love, love, the rest of the women’s team swept their competition as well.
“That was to be expected against Nebraska Wesleyan,” Saniuk said about Tran’s performance. “Alex did what was expected, and she was able to do some things and work on some stuff that she isn’t normally comfortable with doing.”
“She worked on being more aggressive with her returns, hitting bigger shots to help set up the point.”
Kelsie Olson won 6-0, 6-1, Weideman also earned a 6-0, 6-1 victory, freshman Jacqueline Baude won 6-4, 6-4, Christy scored a 6-1, 6-2 winner and junior Kelsey Bigando got UNO another win in the six spot, 6-3, 6-4.
The men were equally as dominant. In the second spot Forcucci won 6-1, 6-2, Peter Greteman was 6-2, 6-4, senior Ben Williams was 6-1, 6-3 and senior Andrew Lescelius won 6-1, 6-0.
Freshman Connor Larson, who Saniuk has called perhaps his best athlete, won his match 6-1, 6-1. Larson, out of McCook, Neb. was a basketball player who started playing tennis recreationally.
Larson picked up the game rather easily, going undefeated as a junior and senior in high school. He ended his career at McCook with a 134-7 record.
“I was happy Connor was able to get out and play a match,” Saniuk said. “He started shaky but did some good things and overall did what I expected.”
Regardless of his teams winning 13 out of a possible 14 points and dominating in all of those matches, Saniuk said that there was a lot to learn last Friday. Though it may not have been the most competitive, the time on court was valuable nonetheless.
“It allows us the opportunity to get out and work on things we might not be comfortable at working at,” Saniuk said. “Not just working on them but doing them in a real-life situation, not just at practice. It’s good to get in a match and just play.”
The Mavs now move onto a match with future Summit League opponent South Dakota State at Hanscom Tennis Center Friday night. Before the season, Saniuk and his team set goals that included defeating some Division I opponents.
“We leave the result (against Wesleyan) behind us, but we take some things we did in the matches and carry that with us throughout the year,” Saniuk said. “We were coming out flat, not being very aggressive. We’ll get a beating if we don’t change that on Friday.”