BOBBY JOHNSON | STAFF REPORTER
Both the Butler men’s and women’s tennis teams are 1-2 over their last three matches and hope to bounce back from losses this weekend.
The men will compete first when they host 3-0 DePaul University Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Butler Tennis Bubble. Despite the team’s recent struggles, coach Parker Ross said he is happy with their current state.
“Everyone is working hard and pulling this team in the right direction, and that needs to continue,” Ross said. “It is a long season and we are working hard to be playing our best tennis in April.”
The team began the season with a 4-3 loss to Cleveland State University and then beat the University of Dayton 4-1 before falling to Ohio State University 7-0. Senior Austin Woldmoe said beginning the season with a loss to former Horizon League rival Cleveland State was tough, but the team has been practicing well of late and has the right mindset.
“I think this is the hungriest we have ever been when it comes to winning,” Woldmoe said.
Even though DePaul University has gotten off to a 3-0 start, Woldmoe said Butler’s strong doubles play combined with their senior-laden roster gives them an advantage in their first Big East match.
“If we can get into a gritty and intense match, I believe we have the experience to help us win,” Woldmoe said.
Ross said in addition to good doubles play and depth, playing at the Bubble provides the Bulldogs with an additional advantage.
“We definitely play our best tennis at home in the Bubble, so we are excited to play them here,” Ross said.
Women’s head coach Tayo Bailey also seemed pleased with the team’s play thus far regardless of a 1-4 start. She said they have looked “very strong” and appear to be progressing faster than she thought.
“I typically have not seen this level of play until about two months in the season,” Bailey said. “Being able to see things come together so soon with many of our new team members is very encouraging.”
Sophomore Kailey Eaton said the team needs to be able to finish close games in order to improve, which it has struggled with during its last two matches. Improvement in doubles play and team unity, she said, has helped to improve on this aspect of the game.
“We have been working hard on our doubles and our teams are coming together to help us win some of the close matches,” she said.
Bailey said energetic and confident doubles play will be key Sunday when they play at Cincinnati at 2 p.m.. Like the men’s team, she said the women must have the right mentality if they want to have success this weekend.
“With collegiate tennis following a shortened format, it is very important that we play every match from beginning to end focused and in the zone,” Bailey said.