Men’s tennis serves up perfection, heads to ITA tournament

Colleen Drangines, Sports Editor

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Courtesy of Tulane Athletics
Junior Ewan Moore secured both match-winning points at the ITA Kickoff, allowing Tulane to advance

Taking down anyone in its path, the men’s tennis team boasts a 4-0 record after the first two tournaments of spring 2019. With this impressive performance, the Green Wave sends a clear message to all future opponents: watch out.

Benefitting from a two-month break and the energy unique to New Orleans, the team was at the top of its game at the Jan. 21 doubleheader against Alcorn State University at the City Park Tennis Center. Tulane dominated back-to-back 7-0 shutout victories, the seventh consecutive year the program has won the season opener and a repeat of the last time the Green Wave faced Alcorn State.

These matches not only set the tone for the remainder of the season, but also provided an opportunity for new players to experience the intensity of spring competition. Every player competed at the opener, and, given the outcome, it is easy to see why head coach Mark Booras is thrilled with the performance.

Tulane, however, could not celebrate for long. Less than a week later, the team traveled to Tallahassee, Florida to take on No. 18 University of Tennessee at the ITA Kickoff Weekend.

Despite being an underdog against the ranked Volunteers, Tulane came into the match ready to fight. This determination remained strong even after giving up the doubles point. The team exploded in singles play, claiming the first set on courts one through five and establishing itself as a contender.

Both teams battled to get ahead. Ultimately, juniors Luis Erlenbusch and Ewan Moore emerged victorious, earning Tulane the last two points in its 4-2 upset.

With the excitement from this success also came the next challenge: facing No. 19 Florida State University in the second round the following day.

The match began as repeat of the first round as Tulane again dropped the doubles point, with the Seminoles then able to increase their lead to 2-0 as singles play got underway. Undeterred by this setback, the Green Wave again demonstrated their characteristic perseverance. Sophomore Harnish Stewart, junior Dane Esses and senior Tyler Schick gave it their all on their respective courts to push Tulane ahead.

Moore was once again in a position to bring home the win for Tulane, and he did not disappoint. With his victory on court one, the Green Wave defeated the Seminoles.

These back-to-back defeats of Top 20 teams earned Tulane a spot at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which will be held Feb. 14-17 in Chicago. Here, the team will face winners from other ITA Kickoff tournaments held around the country.

This is the first time Tulane will compete in this competition in the post-Hurricane Katrina era, and the team welcomes the opportunity to compete at the national level so early in the season. This tournament’s winners in 2017 and 2018 continued on to claim the National Championship that year, meaning the stakes will be high for all teams traveling to the Windy City.

After these performances, Tulane is shaping up to be a strong competitor. Currently, four players are ranked on the Oracle/ITA Division I Men’s Rankings: No. 125 Tim Ruetzel, No. 120 Felix Ewers, No. 58 Schick and No. 42 Erlenbusch. While the Green Wave overall is not currently ranked, it will not be surprising if it receives some votes in the upcoming poll after two solid wins against ranked opponents.

For now, the team hopes to continue its streak against Louisiana State University at City Park on Feb. 1.