ABILENE, Texas – A busy, three-match weekend had the Rattlers swinging hard to win three straight with two young Rattlers going undefeated.
The triple-victory weekend came after a tough shutout to nationally ranked Abilene Christian played the day before the three-match stay in Abilene, Texas. St. Mary’s (8-11, 4-1) apparently shook the loss off quickly, turning around to defeat both McMurry University and Southwest University 8-1 on Friday before defeating Howard Payne 6-2 on Saturday.
Holding down the court as one of St. Mary’s youngest players, freshman Michael Ortiz (Corpus Christi, Texas) dominated all three of his singles competitions, only allowing one opponent to score more than two in one set. His weekend started with Alex Johnson from McMurry University. Ortiz won his first set 6-2 and charged to hold Johnson scoreless in the final set, 6-0, to pick up the point in St. Mary’s 8-1 victory.
A few hours later Ortiz faced Richard Southern from Southwest University and won a 6-3 first set, the only set in which any of his opponents scored more than two. Ortiz banked his second victory of the day with a trumped 6-1 second set to add to the Rattlers’ 8-1 victory. In his final day in Abilene, Texas, Ortiz left on a triumphant note. His last battle against Brit Campell from Howard Payne gave him a 6-2, 6-0 win in St. Mary’s 6-2 day to give the newcomer three victories for an undefeated weekend.
An extra season in experience than Ortiz, sophomore Carlos Olea (Matamoros, Mexico) dominated all three of his singles competitions, never allowing any of his opponents to score a single point. The reigning Heartland Conference Player of the Week also picked up wins in all three of his doubles competitions with teammate Jake Williams (Sr., Dallas). In a scene that would become familiar for all his opponents, Olea started his trek against Donald Matthews, slicing for a 6-0,6-0 victory. Olea went on to win his next two singles matches in the same, close-out fashion to defeat Southwest University and Howard Payne matches, 6-0,6-0.
St. Mary’s other reigning Heartland Conference Players of Week Marin Marczewski (Sr., Warsaw, Poland) and Andrej Klipa (Jr., Belgrade, Serbia) charged to win all three of their doubles competitions, while individually the Rattlers went 2-1 and 1-2 in singles, respectively. Williams and Nestor Moreno (Sr., Bogota, Colombia) both went 2-1 in their own singles competitions for the weekend.
The bragging rights of three-straight victories extended to more than the weekend, however, as St. Mary’s is now nationally ranked at No. 50, believed to be the first time in men’s tennis history.
The Rattlers will hit again Thursday against Temple College in Temple, Texas at 12 p.m.