By Stasya Hopp | Reporter
No. 27 Baylor men’s tennis increased their winning record to 12-3 with a 7-0 sweep of Valparaiso Wednesday at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center. The Baylor victory brings their home win record to 10-0 and marks the first time the Bears and the Crusaders have faced off in school history.
Associate head coach Michael Woodson was able to watch his alma mater compete against the Bears. Woodson is a former Crusader letterwinner and was an assistant coach for the Crusaders before he came to Baylor. Both teams celebrated Valpo head coach Jim Daugherty prior to the match. After 35 years at the head of Valpo’s men’s tennis program, Daugherty will be retiring at the end of this season.
Head coach Brian Boland said they always respect and focus on their competition because they never know what matchups are going to look like.
“You can never expect to win 7-0, you play every match as hard as you can,” Boland said. “Some of these teams we don’t see very often. I’m really pleased with the way the guys prepare and compete. They all did a great job.”
In doubles action, graduate transfer Ryan Dickerson and sophomore Adrian Boitan went 6-0 on court three, and were followed up by sophomore Finn Bass and freshman Sebastian Nothhaft on court two. The pair finished 6-3, securing Baylor’s first point of the match.
After his duo’s 6-0 win, Dickerson said when it comes to doubles, the team has been working on “playing to our strengths and playing super aggressive.”
“This is a good bounce back, I would say, from, losing a doubles point against Illinois,” Dickerson said.
Baylor bested Valparaiso in singles play. The bears brought home all six opening sets, with senior Constantin Frantzen and junior Sven Lah coming out strong with 6-0 first set victories.
“It was a complete performance from top to bottom,” Boland said. “I thought the guys came out and focused really well, played with a lot of energy. We had an outstanding performance in doubles, and I thought that carried over into singles.”
Frantzen gave Baylor its second point with a nearly perfect 6-0, 6-1 performance. Lah swept Crusader Brian Pecyna 6-0, 6-0 for the third point. Dickerson wasn’t far behind with another stellar win, 6-1, 6-1 to clinch the win for Baylor. Nothhaft went 6-2, 6-1 on court four, racking up Baylor’s fifth point of the match and freshman Rahul Dhokia defeated his opponent 6-1, 6-2 on court six.
With the Bears winning five of their six second-set matchups, Boitan came back to win a hard-fought tiebreaker 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-6), finishing off the 7-0 sweep for the Bears.
“I was really impressed with Adrian Boitan,” Boland said. “His opponent is a really strong player and can compete with anyone in the country. I thought that he hung in there and did a good job in the tiebreaker and played some really good tennis.”
Boland said the team has been missing some of its top players throughout the season due to sickness and injury, but they are slowly and surely getting their entire team back on the court.
“I also think that having to play a little bit shorthanded throughout the first part of the year here has been good for us because it provides guys opportunities to step up, play in higher positions, and they’ve done an unbelievable job embracing the opportunity and performing at a high level,” Boland said.
Dickerson said that the challenge Baylor faced against Illinois last weekend has helped the Bears move forward in how they approach their upcoming competition.
“I think we’re all in a really good place right now mentally coming off Illinois and coming off this win going into ASU,” Dickerson said.
Next weekend the Baylor Bears will travel to Tempe, Arizona for a 2 p.m. match against Arizona State on Saturday at the Whiteman Tennis Center.