Volume 92, Issue 92
Tuesday, March 23, 1999
Layoff takes toll on tennis team
© Chris Ciriello/Gazette
By Anthony Thomas
The visiting Alberta Golden Bears mauled the Western Mustangs to claim the unofficial Canadian men's tennis championship Saturday afternoon.
The Golden Bears' two top seeds, Christian Gilbertson and Adam Merrick, former United States scholarship holders, helped their club to a 6-1 tournament win.
The Mustangs' only bright spot on the day came when Merrick and Gilbertson, the reigning national doubles champs from a year ago, were defeated by Western's duo of Jamie Dunnett and Dave Dodge.
"It bodes well for Western's doubles team. That is the first Canadian University doubles match that our two guys have lost," said Alberta coach Russ Sluchinski. "Western has an unbelievable No. 1 doubles team."
Dunnett was impressed with the overall play of Alberta.
"Honestly I think these guys are a little bit better than us, but I think that we would have had a lot better shot at beating them if we played them back in November," he said.
Western coach Anthony Glavanic said he felt the Alberta team was strong as well. "As a team they are very competitive. Are they the best team we've played this year? They're right in there with Queen's, they're right in there with us," he said.
Brendan Collins said the four months between action hurt his play. "From the OUA final I didn't pick up my racquet until two weeks ago."
Glavanic was frustrated at the players lack of practice. "It seems that these guys quit playing tennis Nov. 1," he said. "I don't expect them to play two hours a day, but maybe two hours a week. Is that asking too much?"
Glavanic said he felt the team can play a lot better. "We basically made fools of ourselves today compared to the way we can play."
When asked if having the injured Moe Nemati in the lineup would have made a difference, Dunnett responded candidly.
"These guys would have taken Moe out. He might have kicked the shit out of them or something but he's definitely not going to beat them in a tennis match," he said, making reference to Nemati's suspension earlier in the season for jumping the net to go after an opponent.
Sluchinski noted the score did not reflect the day. "The score looks lopsided but the tennis was very close."
Close singles matches included two three-setters. Merrick defeated Dunnett in three sets and Gilbertson defeated Collins.
Dunnett said he appreciated the fans coming out. "I really got motivated by the support. It was perfect, other than the score."
Overall Glavanic was also pleased by the day.
"I wish the administration of Western was out to see, first of all, how serious Alberta takes their tennis. They had more fans than us out which is partly our fault," he said.
Jeff Kirbyson, a former Western player from Winnipeg, started the tournament a few years ago. Western won the first year, but a team from the West has won every year since.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999