Knox College Men’s Tennis fell to Monmouth Friday, April 3 in an outdoor match on the Meridian Tennis Courts, with their only win (8-5) coming from doubles powerhouse seniors Karl Ruzgas and Walter Palmer. Knox College finished 2-16, 1-3, while Monmouth finished 12-8, 5-0.
“I think the weather today was definitely the biggest setback,” said freshman Tung Nguyen, referring to the 42 degree, 18 mph wind conditions they played in, which were nearly enough to get the match cancelled. The MWC cut off for matches to be held inside is 40 degrees with 20 mph winds.
“The attitude going into today’s match wasn’t as good as it could have been, because of the weather,” said freshman Ashwin Kushwaha. “We all need to work on our footwork and communication, especially in doubles.” The loss was taken harder because Knox was playing its rival, Monmouth.
“We really wanted perfect conditions for this match,” said freshman Ganesh Uppalapu, emphasizing the rival match’s importance and unfortunate weather.
The current tennis team has not beaten Monmouth while any of the active players have been attending Knox. Head Coach Miriam Skrade pointed to excellent coaching and recruiting as the primary reason for Monmouth’s success.
“Chad Braun, the previous Monmouth coach, was good at recruiting experienced and competitive players who don’t overthink, close hard, and finish points,” said Skrade.
However, as the team moves forward to upcoming conference matches, an air of confidence in their ability to compete surrounds the team.
“Ashwin and Rohail have had some crucial doubles wins, and Ganesh and Zair have been rapidly improving, so as long as everyone stays confident and trusting in the shots we’ve been working on, we’ll be competitive against conference teams” Palmer said.
“Our top guys are strong and our middle guys can hang with their competitors, so if we continue to give it our all, we can edge out some of our close matches,” said Skrade.
The next home match for Men’s Tennis will be Saturday, April 11th against Cornell College.