GVSU men’s tennis build momentum in Florida

GVL / Emily Frye 
Sophomore Alex van de Steenoven gets ready to return the serve on Feb. 14, 2016.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Sophomore Alex van de Steenoven gets ready to return the serve on Feb. 14, 2016.

Josh Peick

The Grand Valley State men’s tennis team (6-3) finished a five-day spring break trip to Florida with a 3-2 record. The Lakers won three matches handily and lost two close matches, both to teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

GVSU’s first match came against Concordia College – New York. Concordia, the No. 8-ranked team in the nation, won the match 8-1. While the overall score of the match looks like a blowout, the individual matches were close scores.

Concordia swept the Lakers in singles play. All of the games were close, with sets being decided by one or two games. In doubles play, Concordia took two of three. The Lakers’ lone victory of the afternoon came from the rackets of Jack Heiniger and Sebastien Lescoulie in the No. 2 doubles match.

Heiniger and Lescoulie played together throughout the trip, accumulating four wins in the five matches that they played. The two have gelled well together in the earlier going of the spring season.

“I think we play the same way,” Lescoulie said. “We are both good at returning and we have a good relationship. We help each other out on the court”

The Heiniger/Lescoulie combination was one of the few doubles pairings that did not change during the trip. GVSU head coach John Black toyed with the doubles pairings all trip.

“We are mixing up the doubles combinations a little bit, trying people out with different partners,” Black said. “We are just trying to get a good idea of who works best with whom.”

After the Concordia match, the Lakers rattled off three straight victories. GVSU secured a pair of 7-2 victories against West Chester University and the University of Sciences, along with an 8-1 victory against Post University.

Throughout the week, freshman Nicholas Urban had the most success in singles play. Urban finished the trip with four singles victories to go along with only one loss against Concordia.

“As the week went on I definitely started to play better,” Urban said. “Getting used to playing outside was a little more difficult than I thought it was going to be.”

The final match of the trip for GVSU came against Lynn University, another top-ranked team in the nation. The Lakers almost pulled off the win after splitting the singles matches 3-3, but dropped two of three in doubles play.

Although the Lakers were not able to pull off the upset, the early-season trip was deemed a success by Black.

“We’re doing a lot of good things and I think there is still a lot we can improve on,” Black said. “At this point in the season, I think we are playing very solid.”

The Lakers’ solid play is a good sign heading into the heart of the schedule. GVSU will begin GLIAC play on March 19 against Hillsdale College. After that match, eight of the remaining 10 matches will be against GLIAC opponents.

The next match for the Lakers will be on March 15 at Western Michigan University against the Broncos (10-4) in Kalamazoo, Michigan.