LAFAYETTE, LA — The Ragin’ Cajuns men’s tennis team broke through against a rank opponent for the first time this season as Louisiana handed 61st ranked Samford a 4-3 loss on Monday afternoon at Cajun Courts.
“We really lit a fire under the guys today,” head coach Mark Jeffrey said. “We said enough is enough. We knew doubles was going to be important, and that if we could get out to a 2-0 lead we would come away with the win. Overall it was a great win to defeat the 61st ranked team in the country. We are getting there, but still have to get better.”
Louisiana (10-8) swept doubles play against the Bulldogs (7-5) clinching the point on court two as Edgar Lopez and Jarred Wynan topped the duo of Elliot Barnwell and Austin Akers, 8-3.
The team of Rick de Groot and Jake Wynan bested the 52nd ranked doubles team of Zac Dunkle and Garrison Laduca with a strong 8-3 showing at the No.1 position. The win moved the pair to 11-4 on the season.
“Jake and Rick played really well today,” Jeffrey added. “They beat a legit team, and hopefully that will get them ranked the next time rankings come out.”
Twins Hunter and Yates Johnson completed the doubles sweep at No.3 as they were victorious over Alex Sajonz and Fares Kilani, 8-5.
“I think we sent a message today in doubles,” Jeffrey mentioned. “If you are going to play UL you are going to go down 1-0 after the doubles. I think our sweep in doubles today was really important and it gave us a lot of momentum heading into singles.”
In singles play, de Groot was first off with a strong 6-2, 6-0 performance against Dunkle at the No.1 position to pick up his team-leading 11th win of the spring.
“Rick’s win was huge for us today,” Jeffrey stated. “It put the pressure on Samford to pull themselves back into the match.”
Sophomore Damian Farinola moved the Cajuns one point away from clinching on court five after he defeated Austin Akers in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. The win is the fourth straight and eighth of the season for Farinola.
Louisiana clinched the match at the No.2 position as Edgar Lopez edged out Elliot Barnwell, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
“Both Edgar and Damian had big wins for us today,” Jeffrey noted. “We really needed for them to come through and they did.”
Samford went on to win the final three points of the match claiming victories on courts three, four and six.
“We still have some work to do,” Jeffrey said. “We didn’t close out some matches that we should have. I think the loses at three and six were disappointing. We have to get better as a team throughout the lineup.
“Hopefully this win will give us some momentum heading into our match with a very good Baylor team. We’ve played a lot of matches already and I know the guys are going to be looking forward to the break coming up.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns are back in action on Thursday at 3 p.m. when they head to Waco, Texas to face No.19 Baylor. For info and updates on men’s tennis follow the team on twitter @CajunMensTennis.
Louisiana 4, #61 Samford 3
1. Rick de Groot (UL) def. Zac Dunkle (SAM) 6-2, 6-0
2. Edgar Lopez (UL) def. Elliot Barnwell (SAM) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
3. Fares Kilani (SAM) def. Jake Wynan (UL) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5)
4. Alex Sajonz (SAM) def. Hunter Johnson (UL) 6-2, 7-5
5. Damian Farinola (UL) def. Austin Akers (SAM) 6-4, 6-3
6. Garrison Laduca (SAM) def. Hunter Goertz (UL) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
1. Rick de Groot/Jake Wynan (UL) def. #52 Zac Dunkle/Garrison Laduca (SAM) 8-3
2. Edgar Lopez/Jarred Wynan (UL) def. Elliot Barnwell/Austin Akers (SAM) 8-3
3. Hunter Johnson/Yates Johnson (UL) def. Alex Sajonz/Fares Kilani (SAM) 8-5
Samford 7-5; National ranking #61
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,5,2,3,4,6)