By William McElyea, Staff Writer-
UTC’s Men’s tennis team is looking to return strong after a rough start to the season that saw the Mocs go without a win in its first two matches and then have to postpone their next four matches due to Covid-19.
The Mocs started the season with two road losses. The first being a 0-7 loss to the Clemson Tigers. That was followed by a 1-6 loss to the Crimson Tide of Alabama just 13 days later.
Despite this less-than-ideal start to the season, the team is optimistic.
“Those are two very good teams obviously,” said sixth year senior Turner Voges. “But I was very pleased, I know our coach was as well, with the improvements we made between the Clemson and Alabama match.”
Chattanooga certainly made strides between the two games, as Voges and sophomore Simon Labbe won their doubles match against the Tide while the other two matches needed a tiebreaker to ultimately decide the Alabama victory.
The Mocs also saw their star sophomore Tomas Rodriguez secure a No. 1 singles win against Alabama’s Kaukovalta.
“Super proud of our guys tonight,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said after the match. “Overall our tennis was far ahead of our opening match and I saw much progress.”
UTC was hoping to build off this improvement but had to put things on pause after “Covid-19 issues in the program” forced the Mocs to postpone their next four matches. Those matches were two home games against Austin Peay and Belmont on February 6th– 7th followed by a trip to Lipscomb February 12th and then a return trip to Chattanooga to face Northern Alabama February 17th.
“It’s definitely weird to start your season and then have three weeks off,” said Voges. “We’re just trying to do what we can now so that we’re ready for those matches.”UTC will look to get back on the court and get back in the win column on February 24th against Jacksonville State. That match is set for 1:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.