Sweeping a team is a not an easy task and sweeping two schools on the same day is twice as challenging, but the University of Utah men’s tennis team came ready to play on Saturday. Utah began its afternoon against Pacific before facing Northern Arizona and won both matches 7-0 at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center.
“Two teams that we kind of planned for it being tough teams,” said head coach Roeland Brateanu. “I think both teams are going to help us get to NCAA’s, so good wins and [I’m] really happy the way we took care of things today [Saturday]. [To] go out there and not lose a match, I’m proud of the guys.”
Dan Little was at the center of Saturday night’s action. In doubles play, he partnered with Azat Hankuliyev as they took down Felix Schumann and Christ Steele of Northern Arizona, 6-3. Little followed that performance up by facing Tim Handel. He won the match comfortably, 6-3.
“I think Dan has had a great start coming out with the all-american championships,” Brateanu said. “[He’s] always kind of a slow guy coming out of the summer. He’s definitely gearing up, kind of like he has in past years, just starting to play better and better throughout the year. He’s kind of getting back to how he was playing somewhere in the middle of last season. So we’re excited about that, and you know it’s between him and Dave [Micevski] on who’s really stealing that number one spot.”
The night’s most intense match was taking place on the other court. It went to the third and deciding set. Egbert Weverink played a close first set against Felix Schumann, ultimately coming out on top 7-6. Weverink dropped the second set, 6-2, but he came back to win the third set by the same score.
“Personally I started off really well,” Weverink said. “Luckily, my opponent, he gave me a good match in the first set, got away with a good tie-break. And then in the second set, he adjusted his strategy, stepped back a little bit to make some room for me hitting big serves, obviously pushing him back. So he got a little more time and made a couple more returns, and I didn’t handle them very well. Second set I lost there by just making a couple stupid mistakes and luckily got it back in the third set, mixing up the serves and attacking a little more.”
Micevski came back from losing his first set versus Lucas Taylor, and he was able to take the next two sets for the win. Santiago Sierra earned victories in both sets against Ruben Montana, and Randy Cory defeated Sabastian Eguez in two sets as well. Slava Shainyan took down Chris Steele in two sets to seal the win.
Utah’s weekend success has Weverink feeling confident as the team moves forward.
“We work extremely hard in the fall. Fall is always a little bit of a grind, we only play three tournaments and it’s a lot of hard work. Same for the previous weeks before the season actually starts,” Weverink said. “But now that we’re rolling, it’s just a confirmation that we’re on the right way.”
Utah will next be in action on Sunday, Feb. 11 against Denver at 11:30 a.m.