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The Scarlet & Black

Men’s tennis plans to continue MWC domination

With strong senior leadership, the Grinnell Men’s Tennis Team has continued a phenomenal start to the season. Despite losing teammate Bloun Zhang this season to sickness, the Pioneers laid a smackdown on Carroll University and Central College on Saturday, Mar. 5. Juan Perez ’11 led at the No.1 position in Grinnell’s 9-0 win over Carroll and 8-1 decision over Central. Perez teamed up with Dmitriy Glumov ’11 to also win at the No. 1 doubles spot in both matches. Martin Dluhos ’12 posted two wins at No. 3 singles and two more at No. 2 doubles with Colin Johnson ’13. Strong team dynamics played out well.

Dmitriy Glumov '€™11 returns a serve during a drill during practice in the Bear Fieldhouse on Tuesday. Photo taken by Andrew Kelley.

“Everyone seemed to be extremely focused that day,” Perez said. “We knew it was our first conference match of the season and we wanted to make a good impression on the conference overall. Therefore, we had a great week of practice and I think that paid off at the end.”

Head Coach Andy Hamilton also credits the depth of the team

“Against Carroll and Central our depth really carried us, especially since we did not play our strongest lineup due to sickness on the team. I was proud of the way our substitutes stepped up and played,” he said.

Their stellar performances against Carroll University and Central College were just one link in what has been a chain of strong matches this season. The Pioneers also bested Westminster College, 8-1 and aced Truman state 9-0.

“We went into the Truman State match unsure of our opponents,” said Dylan Gumm ’11. “Our entire team played very well and it was great to get a win over a Division II team.”

This week also marked the second time in three weeks that Grinnell College has had the Midwest Conference Men’s Tennis Performer of the Week. Glumov was named this week’s Midwest Conference Tennis Performer of the week, three weeks after Perez was named Midwest Conference Men’s Tennis Performer of the Week in the first week of the season. Perez has now tied the school record for singles victories in a career. Eli Best ’07 had 90 wins between 2004 and 2007.

Overall, Perez has also been a stand-out contender this season.

“Perez is the best tennis player during my 30 years at Grinnell,” Hamilton said. “As a nationally ranked player coming out of the fall, he took his training over winter break seriously and he is off to a great start this season. Right now he is hitting the ball well and playing with a lot of confidence.”

On the accomplishment of first MWC Tennis Performer Perez is modest. “It feels nice. It is nice when other people recognize that you have accomplished something on the court,” he said.

Looking into the homestretch, the netters hope to stay and capture the Midwest Championships.

“I think right now the team is working hard to win conference,” Gumm said. “Our win over Carroll was the first step toward accomplishing that goal.”

“Our goal every year is to do our best in the Midwest Conference, the penultimate for us is winning a league championship,” Hamilton said. “What we are doing in the early part of our season is all about preparing us for Midwest Conference play.”

The Pioneers hope to continue their win streak this weekend at home, when they host St. Norbert College at 9 a.m. and Cornell College at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 12 and Augustana College on Sunday, Mar. 13, all in the fieldhouse.

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