The first few weeks were tough for the Simpson College men’s tennis team. The Storm lost their first three matches, had their next two cancelled due to weather and lost one of their junior leaders in Zach Kusick to a ligament injury in his foot that requires surgery.
Things finally started to turn the corner this past weekend as Simpson went 2-2 between Friday and Sunday, splitting time between Owatonna and St. Peter, Minn.
“We had a pretty good weekend,” junior Peter Rietgraf said. “Several of us had close matches that showed we dig deep and fight for those tough points.”
Friday, Feb. 27 vs. Northwestern (Minn.) – L, 4-5
Simpson lost a close, 5-4 match with Northwestern College on Friday night. Connor Barnard, Jeff Armstrong and Adam Weiser all won in singles although Simpson was only able to scratch out one of three in doubles as they dropped the weekend opener.
Saturday, Feb. 28 vs. Ripon – W, 5-4
vs. Bethany Lutheran – L, 3-6
The storm finally got off the snide on Saturday, clipping the Ripon College Redhawks, 5-4.
Barnard would win again in match 2 of singles, and after dropping the third match, Simpson would win the final three between Geoff Converse, Weiser and Aaron Smith to get four team points on the board.
All Simpson needed to clinch the victory was one win in doubles and they got it in a 8-3 win from Peter Rietgraf and Converse.
The second game on the day was a little bit tougher for Simpson, falling 6-3 to Bethany Lutheran College.
While Rietgraf, Barnard and Weiser would help Simpson to a 3-3 draw after singles play, the Storm dropped all three in doubles.
Sunday, Mar. 1 vs. Minn. Morris – W, 8-1
Men’s tennis finished their weekend on a winning note, cruising to a 8-1 win over the University of Minnesota-Morris.
Rietgraf, Barnard, Armstrong, Converse and Weiser would win the first five singles matches before Smith lost a close 6-4, 6-3 match in slot six.
Simpson swept doubles play, as all six competitors in singles play had to battle it out in doubles for the Storm this weekend.
With Kusick out and Simpson relying on some freshman, it was important to see players like Weiser and Barnard to do well.
“Our freshman really stepped up,” Rietgraf sai.d “Connor Barnard went 6-2 and Adam Weiser went 5-3, stepping up and pulling out some big wins for us.”
Simpson, now 2-5, will not get back on the court until Mar. 14 against Berry College down in Orlando, Fla.