Men’s tennis claims two singles titles in Omaha

LOGAN MEYER Sports Reporter

After a tough road trip to Forest River, Illinois, where the Jackrabbits lost four different finals, the Jackrabbit men’s tennis team seemed to use the prior experience of reaching a final and coming up short as motivation on Sunday. The weekend finale of the Omaha Collegiate Challenge, which featured seven teams at Koch Tennis Center, saw a trio of Jacks in singles finals, concluding with two out of three victories in those finals. 

South Dakota State University sophomore Stefano Blatt and freshman Emerson Styles both claimed the singles title in their respective events, which were flights G and C. 

Blatt, who is originally from Brazil, is in his second year with the Jackrabbits and is seemingly having a pretty good fall. He defeated Creighton 6-1, 6-2 in the flight G singles final.

As for Styles, the true freshman from England chalked up a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory in the flight C singles final, also beating a Creighton Blue Jay. 

Jackrabbit senior Henrique Pereira also posted a strong showing, losing in his final at flight B to Creighton 6-4, 4-6, 1-6. 

The Jacks played so well that they earned nothing but endorsement from the guy that sets the lineup. “Today was the best day of tennis we have had so far this fall. Our mental toughness was perfect and I am so proud of the way we competed today,” sixth-year Head Coach Michael Engdahl said. “It was also great for Emerson and Stefano to bring home their flight titles. We created a lot of positive momentum today and now we need to carry it into practice.”

In other singles matches, the Jacks found success as well. Jackrabbit freshman Chuck Tang was able to notch a victory against Creighton 6-3, 6-1 in flight E singles. Both juniors Lucas Pereira and Jonny Higham were able to put SDSU in the win column, with Pereira taking down Omaha 6-0, 7-5 in flight D; Higham, like Tang, defeated Creighton 6-4, 6-1 in flight E singles action. 

The Jackrabbits will hit the courts and practice up before heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas on Oct. 15 to compete in the ITA Central Regional, which will conclude on October 18.