Kingsmen Fall To Banana Slugs In Home Opener

The sun was beaming down and the crowd was lively at the Poulson Tennis Courts as the California Lutheran University men’s tennis team took on a highly ranked University of California at Santa Cruz side on Saturday Feb. 17.

“I was looking for the team to compete well individually and be cohesive as a team,” Head Coach Mike Gennette said.

Although the results did not show as much, the Kingsmen were able to extend many of the matchups into the third set, but ultimately fell in all matches but one.

“We definitely didn’t perform overall as a team like we were hoping to,” Gennette said.

The one match that went in favor of the violet and gold was to sophomore Sebastian Ariza, who was able to win his matchup 6-3, 2-6. He finished off the match with a 10-7 win in the tiebreaker.

“I was nervous at the beginning. Last year, it was a really tough match, so I kind of had that on my mind. But I used the nervousness to motivate me,” Ariza said.

Many of the games were not going as they had wished, but throughout the whole contest, the Kingsmen and the crowd stuck with their players.

“I thought we did a decent job with that [supporting teammates] considering that we were losing the match from the beginning,” Gennette said.

Another player who received attention on his court was junior Michael Sulahian. Sulahian was able to take his match to the third and final tiebreaker, but fell just short of collecting the teams second win of the day.

“I got a little down after losing the second set, so I’ve just got to play it one at a time and keep my head up,” Sulahian said.

Following the match, there were a few things Gennette said he wants his team to focus on in the upcoming practices, “Our conditioning is subpar, so we’re going to be improving our conditioning. We are also going to be changing our priorities at practice to focus more on doubles and net play.”

The Kingsmen team motto for the year is “one percent better” according to Gennette, and that’s what they will look to do next Wednesday at 3 p.m. when they invite Brandeis University to the Poulson Tennis Courts as they look to get back to winning ways.

Gabe Naudin
Reporter