By Branson Hardcastle | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor Men’s Tennis started its season on a high note, notching two wins Saturday against the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).
Baylor took down the Kangaroos 7-0 in both matches. Each team played three doubles matches and six singles matches in both the 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. match ups.
In the first match, junior Johannes Schretter and redshirt junior Will Little suffered a surprising loss in their doubles match as they fell to UMKC’s Airam Castellano and Alex Pozo 6-3. Schretter and Little are ranked No. 2 in doubles, but could not garner much rhythm into the match.
That was Baylor’s only loss of the day as it swept the Kangaroos in every singles match. Schretter rebounded from his doubles loss and got his revenge on Airam Castellano, beating him in straight sets 6-0 and 6-2. Schretter is ranked No. 11 in singles and has the potential to move up after defeating Castellano who is ranked No. 115.
The Bears had three freshmen in action against the Kangaroos Saturday, including Matais Soto, Roy Smith and Sven Lah. Matais Soto, a Chile native, defeated sophomore Tom Kruse in straight sets 6-3 and 6-3. Soto also played freshman Diego Giraldo in what proved to a difficult matchup. Soto still managed to win in straight sets 7-5 and 6-3.
Smith, from New Haven, CT, had a great start to his Baylor career as he won four matches on Saturday. He won both of his singles matches in straight sets and helped his doubles partners win in convincing fashion. In his first doubles match, Smith teamed up with Lah to beat UMKC’s Tom Kruse and Diego Giraldo 6-1.
Head Coach Matt Knoll said he was impressed by his young team’s play and how the freshmen adjusted to playing for a team.
“I had a great time really seeing those guys. I thought that several of them really rose to the occasion and embraced the dual match environment,” Knoll said. “Tennis guys are used to playing by themselves and playing as a team is different. It creates a little pressure, but it creates a lot of love. I think these guys are really the right people for that.”
The Bears were supporting each other throughout the night. As one player would finish a match, team members would immediately go to another court and support their teammate. Smith said he believes that this is what makes the team special.
“I like the environment that the team really brings. The whole aspect of being part of a team and have everyone support you and being able to support your teammates is really nice,” Smith said. “My favorite part was when everyone got on Matais court and was cheering him on. It didn’t matter that, you know, it’s the season opener or the NCAA finals, we are going to do the same thing no matter what with how we support each other.”
Baylor will host UNLV at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Hurd Tennis Center. On Sunday, the Bears will welcome Florida State and Purdue to Waco to finish off the weekend.