MUNCIE, Ind. – The Butler men's tennis team added a fall invitational to the schedule as they traveled to Ball State this weekend. Head Coach Parker Ross only took four student-athletes to the competition, but all four Bulldogs played well over the weekend.
Sam O'Neill led Butler in Flight A Singles at the Ball State Invite. O'Neill won his opening match 6-4, 7-6 (5) over Ryan Frankel (UI).The next round was another victory for O'Neill as he defeated Jacob Hedderig of IUPUI 7-6 (2), 6-4. O'Neill was finally eliminated in the next round in a wild match by Jason Jaruvang of IUPUI 6-7 (3), 6-3, 1-0 (9).
"I thought Sam performed really well in A flight singles," Head Coach Parker Ross explained. "He had two solid wins and had three match points in his quarterfinal loss against the #1 player from IUPUI. Although it was a disappointing loss, there were a lot of positives to take away from the tournament for Sam and I think overall he gained a lot of confidence."
Tommy Marx defeated Akshay Verma of IUPUI 6-3, 6-2 in Flight A Singles. He was defeated in the next round by Logon Collins of Marquette 6-1, 7-5.
"Tommy Marx had a really productive weekend as well," Ross stated. "He played really well in singles and was able to gain some confidence."
Alex Woldmoe was also in action for Butler in Flight A singles. He took a 6-2, 6-0 first round loss to Daniel Kang of IPFW, but made some noise in the consolation bracket reaching the semifinals after defeating Jonathan Raa of IPFW 6-3, 6-3. He dropped out of the bracket with a 6-2, 6-4 setback to Filip Dzanko (DePaul).
"Alex Woldmoe got some valuable match play experience in the A Flight where he was really tested as a freshman," Parker added. "Although he went 1-2 he hung right in there with the top seed in the tournament and was a few points away from pushing that match to a third set."
Flight A Doubles featured the team of O'Neill and Billy Weldon for Butler. The team received a bye, but then slipped in the quarterfinals to ISU 8-6. The tandem defeated one IPFW team in the consolation bracket 8-2, but was eliminated by yet another IPFW team 8-5.
"Sam O'Neill and Billy Weldon went 1-2 on the weekend but they played well enough to establish themselves as a doubles team for the rest of the year, they just need a little more experience playing together which they will get this weekend in Knoxville at Regionals," Parker explained.
The team of Marx and Woldmoe nearly won the Flight B Doubles bracket, but they were ultimately defeated 8-5 by Marquette 8-5 in the finals. The tandem picked up an 8-2 win over IPFW after receiving a first round bye. Their second win was an 8-1 decision over IUPUI.
"Marx and Woldmoe played some really great doubles together," Parker said. "We really figured out a lot this weekend with our doubles line up which was where we needed to improve the most from last year."
The ITA Regionals will be the next stop for the Butler men's tennis team on Friday, Oct. 11. The regular season will begin on Jan. 22 at Ohio State.
"There definitely were a lot of good things to take away from this weekend," Parked stated. "We are one step closer to playing the kind of tennis we want to when spring season comes around."