STEUBENVILLE - Taking their home courts for the first time since last spring, the Franciscan men's tennis team recorded a 9-0 home win over visiting Shawnee State, to improve to 2-1 in the fall.
Cloudy skies threatened rain as the men took the courts for doubles, just after 5:00 p.m.
In their second match together, freshmen Christian Cappello and Joseph Seuss lit up the No. 3 doubles spot. The duo was all over the net in their first win together, backed by immediate on-court chemistry and a collective ability to finish points inside the service line. Their encouraging 8-2 win is a positive sign of things to come for the Barons.
At No. 2 doubles, senior Connor Jooste played alongside sophomore Jonathan Walmach, and together they quickly produced an 8-0 win typified by net dominance and abbreviated points. Walmach served and volleyed with regular consistency during the win, and the pair poached short balls for the complete extent of the win.
No. 1 doubles found seniors John Gallagher and Jarek Sulak searching for their first collective win of their final season together. They raced to a 4-2 lead over their Shawnee State counterparts and broke serve at 7-2 to secure the win. Sulak's characteristic net presence quickly delivered the match into Baron hands.
Eager to build upon a 3-0 doubles lead, Franciscan quickly took their courts for the onset of singles play.
Making his Franciscan singles debut, Luke Conrad simply overpowered his No. 6 singles opponent on the far court. The freshman found deep corners early and often during his 6-0, 6-1 win, in a statement match of quick points and smart Baron tennis.
At the No. 1 spot, Jake Haffner played the toughest match of the afternoon. Haffner dug deep to capitalize on extensive baseline rallies, capitalizing on short return shots with productive net play. The sophomore ran away with both sets during the latter stages of each, earning every point of his 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Both Walmach and Aidan Howard took take of business without a hitch at No. 2 and No. 5 singles, respectively, each finishing with 6-0, 6-0 final scores.
After Gallagher found groundstroke traction during his 6-1, 6-0 No. 3 singles win, eyes turned to Jooste's No. 5 singles bout, where solid service games and forehand winners gifted him the 6-1 first set. Jooste kept the momentum up in the second set, improving upon his first set score with a barrage of approach shots that kept his Shawnee State opponent off-balance. He soon left the court with a 6-1 second set, and overall match, victory.
After the 9-0 sweep, the Barons next take the court at the ITAs beginning September 29.