Stratton Brown vs KC

Junior Stratton Brown returns a backhand during a doubles victory last Saturday against Missouri-Kansas City.

Men’s tennis split home duals last weekend to move to 2-4 on the season.

In the first conference match of the year, the Jays fell 6-1 to DePaul last Friday.

Despite a distant score, the Bluejays played close with the Blue Demons, warranting four tiebreaks and two matches played into a third set.

Junior Stratton Brown won his first set in a tiebreak, but he dropped the next two sets at No. 2 singles. At No. 4 junior Mac Mease remained close the whole match but fell to DePaul’s Tripp Tuff 7-6 (8-6), 7-5. Junior Jose Oscar Diaz also played into a third set at No. 5 after notching a 6-0 first set victory but dropped the next two with 6-4 scores to Christopher Casati. At No. 6 senior Daniel Lopez-Ray played similarly in a 7-5, 7-6 (7-1) loss to Luuk Wassenaar.

Sophomore Nick Campbell gave the Bluejays their only win with a dramatic match of his own. He grabbed his first set with a tiebreak win before beating Vito Tonejc 7-6, 6-3 at No. 1 singles.

“Nick is our top guy and he played really well to beat DePaul’s number one,” head coach Tom Lilly said. “He just maintained a real even keel and his mental strength is just outstanding.”

That toughness is something Lilly saw his entire team play with when they returned to the courts Saturday to complete a 7-0 sweep over Missouri-Kansas City.

The afternoon started with the secure of the doubles point with wins from juniors Joe Hoff and Brown at No. 2 and Diaz and Lopez-Rey at No. 3.

Moving into singles the Bluejays outperformed the Roos in each match.

Brown mimicked his Friday performance with another close battle against Tom Kruse of Missouri-Kansas City. He secured the first set in a tiebreak win, then dropped his second set but held the edge in the third set tiebreak to close the victory 7-6, 3-6, 10-4.

Brown saw the key difference in the two days was his ability to hold better control.

“I have to go in with a game plan,” he said. “Especially on those big points I try to do what I’m good at, on big points I like to dictate with my forehand and use that as a weapon.”

Lopez-Rey also moved into a third set as well as he rallied to 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 win over Jake Fraunfelder.

For Lilly, he didn’t see a big difference in play from one day to the next but knew the win related to staying focused after lost points.

“I told the guys after Friday, remain present in the moment, don’t let things that happened before dictate the next point,” he said. “Be in a more positive state of mind which I thought we did really well in that.”

With rest over the week and a greater focus on those big points during practice, the team now goes on a road run playing Green Bay tonight and continuing conference play at Marquette on Saturday

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