April 7, 2014
BEAUMONT – It’s been a year of full of history for the Lamar men’s tennis team, and Tuesday’s match with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi could represent another piece of progress for a program experiencing its best season since 1987.
“It’s always an uphill battle when you play Corpus because they’re solid from top to bottom,” head coach Scott Shankles said. “They will always be one of our toughest opponents in the conference. We haven’t been able to get to their level in years past, and now we’ll get a chance to see how we measure up this year. We’re a team that is trying to mature and continue to get better, and hopefully the Nicholls match was a great learning experience for us.”
The Islanders, which have taken home six consecutive Southland titles, are 12-9 this season, and much like the Cardinals, are in the early portion of the conference slate with a 1-0 record with a 7-0 victory over Oral Roberts in February. The team will be entering the weekend on the heels of back-to-back losses to TCU and Oklahoma State, which are two teams that have also beaten LU.
Meanwhile, the Cards (12-9, 1-1 Southland) are going to be looking to bounce back from a 7-0 conference loss to Nicholls on Friday. Despite the lopsided scoreline, the Red and White were competitive at points throughout the match, dropping a tough doubles point and winning a few sets in singles play.
“When you play conference opponents, you have to try your best to win that doubles point because it can be very difficult to win four singles matches,” Shankles said. “We were close vs. Nicholls in doubles, but when you play a team like that, you have to keep your spirits up when you go into singles, especially if you drop the point. We weren’t able to do that.”
LU has been impressive for much of the season at the top of the lineup as the freshman trio of Michael Feucht, Juuso Laitinen and Nikita Lis has combined for 31 singles victories. All three have won matches at both lines one and two.
Feucht and Laitinen are also one of the best doubles tandems in the league and boast of an 11-3 record.
In the bottom half, both Carl-Philip Lindqvist and Mikko Rajamaki have picked up seven singles victories, and Steven McMullan has earned five.
First serve at Thompson Family Tennis Center on Tuesday is scheduled for 2 p.m.