Our Aussie’s in the US have been in full flight with a number of double headers and back-to-back matches last weekend. Many teams encountered long bus rides and enduring flights across the country while others had their home advantage.
Inverloch’s Jack Clements, a senior at the University of South Alabama played three matches over four days last week.
Their first match was on the South Alabama campus where they made light work of the University of West Alabama 7-0, with the Victorian defeating Germany’s Marcel Hornung 6-0, 6-1.
The men’s team then had a three and a half bus ride up north to Starkville, home of Mississippi State University where they played East Tennessee State and Mississippi State on Sunday and Monday respectively.
“When it comes to college tennis, it’s just a lot more physical”. “Three matches in four days does take a toll on your body so you have to take advantage of those rest days”, said Clements.
The Jaguars went on to defeat East Tennessee 4-0, in a match that was decided after a team had won the doubles point and three singles matches.
The Jaguars were put to the test where they faced Mississippi State University, a team that won the South-Eastern Conference (SEC) back-to-back in 2018 and 2019 and were ranked inside the top 5 in the country at the time.
The Bulldogs defeated the Jaguars 7-0, with Jack going down 6-3, 6-3 against Petar Jovanovic at #2 singles. “Their depth is insane”, Clements said. “We had chances to win the doubles point. I think they saved three match points to take the doubles point and then took it from there”.
The Jaguars are set to play Furman on January 21st at home before traveling to South Carolina where they will play Clemson on January 27th. “Clemson is a really good school as well, we’re really going into this match to win,” Clements said. “We all believe that we can actually beat Clemson, knock them off”.
Perth’s Chris Lawrance is in his final year at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) where they played a double-header against Oklahoma State University on Saturday and Oral Roberts University on Monday in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Vaquero’s lost 7-0 in both matches against Oklahoma State before having to re-group against Oral Roberts two days later.
“Playing a Big-12 school is definitely not easy especially when it’s the first match of the year so we didn’t know what to expect”, Lawrence said. “I feel like in the doubles we came out pretty hot with two of our teams actually beating the OSU doubles teams so that was positive.”
The men’s team had a tough battle against Oral Roberts where they came through in a hard fought, 4-3 win against the Golden Eagles. The Western Australian had to dig deep after losing the first set and eventually came out on top 2-6, 6-0, 6-4 against Oral Roberts’ Kevin Leuenberger.
“Tight ones are always exciting”, Lawrence said. “I was lucky enough to get my court through”. The Vaquero’s will have a couple of days to recover as they face UT Tyler and Southern Methodist University (#28) on Saturday.
Adelaide’s JJ Chen is playing in her senior year at Montana State University. A member of the Big Sky Conference, the Bobcats played their opening match against Chicago State University coming out on top 6-1.
“It was a great experience, said Chen. We had the NIU invitational right before the dual match so it was nice to get some singles and doubles matches in which got us ready for our first dual match, so (we were) a little nervous but we worked through the nerves and got the win”.
Chen came out firing in her first match against Chicago State winning her first singles match of the season 7-5, 6-4 against CSU’s Sofyia Sedovich at the #6 singles. The Bobcats will next face Boise State in Boise, Idaho; a team which the women’s side is yet to beat in their last five matches.
“They’re one of our toughest rivals, we normally play them every year”, said Chen. “We normally have pretty close matches but we’ve never been able to beat them so hopefully this year we get up”.
That’s a wrap for our Aussies in the US this week. Be sure to follow us on our social media platforms for weekly college tennis updates, and stay tuned for our podcast offerings; our 2nd season of Play USA is set to re-launch in February where we catch up with Melbourne’s Alex Bulte who is in his Sophomore Year at 10th ranked Florida State University.