Home away from home: Tennis hosts duals in Sioux Falls

The South Dakota State University men’s tennis team did something on Friday it hasn’t done since the 2007-08 season: host Summit League competition. For the sixth time this season, the Jacks shut out their opponent by a score of 7-0. The Jackrabbits took down the Leathernecks of Western Illinois University at the new Huether Family Match Pointe Tennis Center in Sioux Falls, and they did it handily.

Winning their 12th doubles point on the season, the Jacks made quick work of WIU. Each doubles team notched their respective win losing only a minimal amount of games, and sixth-year head coach Michael Engdahl took notice. 

“The focus was great tonight and we got the job done. The team did a great job playing their tennis and taking things one point at a time,” said Engdahl.  

With the victory, the Jackrabbit men moved to 11-8 overall and 1-1 within the Summit League. 

On Sunday, the Jackrabbit men were back in action—this time against nationally ranked (47) University of Denver. Denver came into the dual with SDSU leading the Summit League, and they sure looked the part against the Jacks. 

Denver began the day winning both flights [1 and 3 doubles], securing the doubles point. SDSU’s lone win of the day came from sophomore Marco Paulo Castro at No. 6 singles. Castro, who won in straight sets, defeated Wyatt Lovera by a final of 6-3, 6-4. Castro, who is now 9-1 in duals, moved his overall record to a steady 15-4 after the victory. 

Additionally, Castro is the only player in the Summit League to notch a win against this year’s Pioneer squad—a feat that head coach Michael Engdahl didn’t take lightly. “I thought on every single court that we had our chances,” Engdahl said. “You could see with Denver that they played every single point with confidence, and I think that we kind of went in and out of our focus—and you can’t go in and out—especially with confidence and focus.” 

Engdahl made it clear what he liked out of his team’s performance. “I think the fight was there,” Coach Engdahl said. “I know their (SDSU) expectations were really high coming into the match, and I know they were really looking forward to it—and I think we got off to some slow starts and that sort of affected our confidence.” 

Engdahl also was not shy to add “the fight is something we’ve had all season long, and if we keep the fight going when we hit IUPUI on Friday, we’ll catch some people in the last couple weeks of the season.” 

The 1-6 loss to Denver drops the Jackrabbits to 11-9 overall, and 1-2 in Summit League play.

The Jackrabbit men will again be back in action on Friday at Huether Family Match Pointe in Sioux Falls where they will take on IUPUI.