“We looked a little sloppy in doubles at first against Troy,” head coach Billy Pate said. “But they looked a little more relaxed and focused in the singles and got the job done.”
The men’s team was looking to rebound after last weekend’s poor showing against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, in which they fell to a 4-3 decision. Due to the bitter cold conditions, the match was played in the new Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility.
“To have six indoor courts on campus really works out on winter days such as these,” Pate said. “And the guys want to play here because it’s new and attractive.”
Pate also said that the indoor facility has worked out well as far as fan support.
“When you have a closed facility like we have the fan support sounds twice as loud even if it is the same amount of fans that we have on the outdoor court,” he said.
In the morning match against the Paladins, the Tide got off to a strong start in doubles play. Juniors Ricky Doverspike and Jarryd Botha handled their opponent out of the gate with an 8-6 win over Furman freshman Jacob Behal and junior Andrew Mellow on court one.
“I think Ricky and Jarryd have both matured quite a bit since last season,” Pate said. “You can just see it in how they play this season.”
The Tide dropped a doubles match to the Paladins, but Alabama junior Harris Barnard and freshman Stuart Kenyon rallied back for an 8-6 win.
After the 4-3 loss the previous weekend, Pate said he would make some minor lineup changes going into Saturday’s doubleheader. After wins by both freshmen Filippos Tsangaridis and Rens van der Vis in singles, Pate said that the fresh legs were key in the Tide’s early victory.
“I think when you see some of the new guys out there, it not only gives them experience,” he said. “It helps some of our players rest up and provide coaching.”
The day only got better for the Crimson Tide as they swept Troy en route to a 7-0 victory, dominating doubles and singles play. The most impressive play came from Jerryd Botha.
“Jerryd has really improved coming off of last year,” Pate said. “I think he has benefited with mental focus and composure. This year he is like a tiger on the court ready to pounce every time the ball is in his vicinity.”
Botha, a junior from Cape Town, South Africa, dominated doubles play with freshman teammate David Vieyra, taking out Troy sophomore Patrick Eichler and freshman Ture Skinner 8-4. In singles play, Botha showed flashes of greatness against Troy’s Anas Rouchdi, capturing a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
“I think we played well overall,” Pate said. “We just have to have a short memory and focus on next week’s tournament.”
The Tide will travel to Montgomery next Friday for the Blue Grey National Tennis Classic.