Men’s tennis looks to rebound after slow start


©Steve Woltmann

Netherlands native Boris Spanjaard. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

In a season that began with nine consecutive matches on the road, the men’s tennis team has had nothing less of a steady season.

Despite having dropped four of their last six matches, the Blue Demons (12-8, 1-0 Big East) believe that they still have a lot left in the tank and refuse to let down heading into their final four matches of the regular season.

“The season’s been great,” head coach Matt Brothers said. “We started off with a good win over Big Ten team Purdue which gave the guys a lot of confidence.”

Following that road victory back on Jan. 15, the Blue Demons went on to win four of their next seven matches, all of which came on the road. Those matches are what Brothers mentioned were confidence builders for his players.

“Most of those wins have come on the road, which isn’t easy,” Brothers said. “So yeah, it just builds confidence with the guys and I’m pleased. We’re in a good situation. I think the guys still feel like their best tennis is still ahead of them and they’re working hard toward that (…) we’re building and planning on peaking at the right time.”

Speaking of peaking, Brothers noted that the team’s 4-3 comeback win over Louisiana-Lafayette on March 2 at the HEB Tournament of Champions down in Texas is what really tested his team’s ability to battle back from a deficit.

“Down 0-3 in singles, we played singles first down 0-3, fought back, made it 3-all with a win at five singles and a third set tiebreaker, and we played doubles (and) split the doubles,” Brothers said. “Our number one team was down 5-15-40, so three match points and they fought back and pulled the match out (…) these guys, the best thing they have going is they feel like they can compete and beat anyone they go up against.”

The final four regular season matches are home at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness. Given that the Blue Demons have won 12 consecutive home matches dating back to 2016, this stretch could wind up being helpful before the Big East Championship begins on April 27 in Cayce, SC.

“We only play matches at home now for the rest of the season, so I think that’s a good boost for us,”  sophomore Boris Spanjaard said.

Brothers stressed the importance of his team playing well in this stretch in preparation for late April. Their next match is on Friday night against Xavier followed by April matches versus Butler, New Mexico St., and Marquette.

“We have one match this weekend and off next weekend, so physically that’ll help them back to where they need to be,” Brothers said. “All these conference matches that we have are vital for seeding and how the tournament plays out for us.”

While the remaining games are important, so is the team’s work ethic.

“We’re improving everyday,” Spanjaard said. “Even though, if we had a winning record or a losing record, it doesn’t matter. We’re still improving everyday, and I think we just keep that going.”