April 12, 2013
BEAUMONT – It was an inauspicious beginning on Friday afternoon for the Lamar men’s tennis team, dropping all three matches in doubles play, but the Cardinals were able to pivot in singles, winning at each of the top four lines to pick up a 4-3 win over Southland foe Texas-Pan American at Beaumont Municipal Tennis Center.
“I couldn’t be happier for the team after the work that they put in this week,” head coach Scott Shankles said. “The guys are very strong and confident when it comes to singles play, and they feel like they can win, no matter who they’re playing. UTPA is a pretty good team, and this was a big win for us.”
With the victory, Lamar improved to 4-14 on the year and 2-1 in Southland play, effectively knocking UTPA (7-15, 1-3) out of the conference race and securing one of the four spots at the Southland Tournament later this month.
“It feels good to clinch a spot in the conference tournament, and it’s even better because we’ll be playing it at home,” Shankles said. “I know the community in Beaumont will come out to support us as well as the women’s team loud and proud.”
Rob Lee, who was celebrating his Senior Day on Friday, got the Cards rolling in singles play, picking up a 6-3, 6-3 win over Thomas Panoulas at No. 1 singles.
“I’m very happy for Rob to win on Senior Day,” Shankles added. “He played tough and stayed aggressive today, but more importantly, he’s playing his best tennis ever right now. I’m so proud of who he has become, not only as a tennis player, but as a captain, teammate and man.”
Bruno Snyder and Steven McMullan were just as impressive, with the former handing Chetan Panditi a 6-2, 6-1 decision at the third spot, and the latter taking home a 6-2, 6-3 win over Sebastien Job at line four.
clinched the match for Lamar, overcoming a tight opening set to win 7-5, 6-1 against Ricardo Hopker at No. 2.
In other singles action, Mikko Rajamaki lost 6-4, 6-1 to Felix Masselberg, and Trey Crysel fell 6-3, 6-3 to Joey Bishop.
Lamar now hits the road for Thibodaux to take on Nicholls. The match, which was originally scheduled for Sunday, was moved up to Saturday due to expected inclement weather.