Peter Wright’s gutsy performance Saturday afternoon at the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex helped the St. Thomas men’s tennis team defeat the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and get its first victory of the season.
Wright played through stomach cramps and gas, beating La Crosse’s Vic Mirasola 6-2, 6-2, and giving the Tommies a 5-4 edge on the day.
“I had some bad whole-grain linguine with Parmesan,” Wright said, “Clearly, I should have just went with Jimmy John’s.”
Wright said he almost “blew up” when Mirasola called his would-be game-winning backhand out-of-bounds, but he kept his composure and won the next point to end the match.
Saturday’s match was the first tennis home game in 23 months. The team played all 35 of its 2010 matches off-campus while the AARC was under construction.
“It’s good to be playing at home again,” sophomore Brian McCarthy said.
McCarthy, who transferred from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay last year, had to sit out the entire 2010 season. McCarthy and his partner, senior Andrew Michels, earned the Tommies a victory in doubles, but Nick Piotrowski out-dueled McCarthy in singles.
McCarthy’s game revolves around a booming serve.
“Oh, it’s big time,” coach Terry Peck said. “He gets a few up to 120 miles per hour.”
McCarthy is one of several new players who make up what Peck calls his “deepest team ever.”
“We have 10 to 12 players who could all play in the lineup,” Peck said. “There is not a huge separation between quite a few players.”
St. Thomas swept through three doubles matches, but the top four players all lost in singles.
Andrew Michels accounted for one of St. Thomas’ singles losses, falling to Nathan Fekete 6-4, 6-2. Michels said he was frustrated by the screams Fekete let out during the end of the match.
“He was just trying to get under my skin, so I tried to play the opposite and get under his skin a little bit,” Michels said. “I got him back a little bit. I told him that he really must love tennis considering how much he was screaming.”
Michels said Fekete’s screaming flustered him because Michels didn’t play as well as he should have.
However, Michels was happy with the team’s victory.
“This is the best team I’ve ever been on,” Michels said. “We’re just trying to get through the first couple of weeks and once we get to conference we’ll hit our stride.”
Alex Keil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.