The Linfield men’s tennis team continued its rough start to the season, losing 9-0 to Pacific University and 6-3 to Willamette University. This dropped Linfield’s Northwest Conference record to 0-6.
The match against Pacific was particularly brutal. Pacific won the three doubles matches 8-3, 8-2 and 8-1, and it won the six singles matches without dropping a set.
The closest Linfield player to taking a set was sophomore Lukas Kleinman, who lost his singles match 6-4, 7-5 (12-10).
A good sign for the tennis team stems from the three matches it took on Saturday against Willamette. Kleinman continued his positive weekend with a singles victory, 6-4, 6-2. He also teamed up with Linfield’s No. 1, Zach Lyons, to deliver a 8-6 second flight doubles victory.
Lyons also won his singles match 6-4, 6-2 against Willamette’s No. 2. This was the first time Kleinman and Lyons had paired up this year in doubles.
When asked about his success this weekend, Kleinman said, “I just told myself that I couldn’t keep letting my team down and that I had to step up and try to give the team some positive energy heading into the second half of the season.”
As for the different doubles pairing, Lyons said, “It is a partnership that I want to continue. Luke is a great doubles player and we have a good foundation to build on.”
Lyons reflected on the losses as a way to get better.
“It was a tough weekend, especially Friday, but every loss is a learning experience…it’s a team effort and we will continue to build on what we’ve learned and continue to push ourselves,” he said.
Kleinman echoed similar sentiments when discussing the outlook for the rest of the season.
“If we keep fighting and show a little more intensity, I see us showing a lot more fight the rest of the year,” he said.
Lyons remains the only senior on the roster—the rest of the roster consists of freshmen and sophomores—and they still await a clash with three of the top four teams in the conference.
“I really like our chances of improving. We are all trying to prove ourselves and fight through some adversity,” Kleinman said.
Wins are bound to come from the rest of the team. Sophomores Micah Roos, Joel Trousdale and Ben Brewer all recorded victories last year. Roos and freshman Alex Mangan have already picked up victories this season.
The team will look to pick up its first NWC victory on March 8 in Spokane, Wash., against Whitworth University. Whitworth has a 3-2 NWC record after defeating the University of Puget Sound 9-0 during the weekend.
Tyler Bradley/ Sports columnist
Tyler Bradley can be reached at email@example.com.