GAMBRIER - The Franciscan men's tennis team saw their season conclude in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, after a 5-0 loss to Hope University.
Seniors Connor Jooste and John Gallagher found games difficult to come by at the No. 2 doubles spot. The duo held Gallagher's serve down 5-0, but otherwise couldn't sustain momentum long enough to challenge their Hope counterparts. They surrendered an 8-1 defeat, despite close games and a solid net performance.
On the first court, senior captain Jarek Sulak paired with sophomore Jake Haffner, where the duo played the most competitive doubles match of the afternoon. After falling into a 7-4 hole, Sulak held serve in five points, behind stellar net play from Haffner. Two points from being back on serve, the No. 1 doubles team couldn't complete the service break at 7-5, for a close loss.
At the No. 3 doubles spot, smart tennis and an aggressive net performance kept sophomore Jack Galla and freshman Luke Conrad in the match late, despite inconsistencies that prevented a closer score. Conrad registered consistent service returns all afternoon, and Galla rocked several big forehands on key points.
After the No. 3 doubles match went the way of Hope University, the Barons took the courts for singles play, down 3-0.
Galla moved well despite windy conditions, surrendering a 6-3, 6-1 loss at No. 6singles. Jooste's 6-1, 6-2 loss at the No. 4 singles spot capped a 5-0 Hope University win, capping an otherwise successful season for the Barons.
Team captain Jarek Sulak will graduate second all-time in career doubles wins, and third all-time in most doubles wins for a single season. His .833 career singles record is good for third all-time, and his 2017-18 campaign pushed him into the fourth all-time spot for program singles victories.
Connor Jooste will leave Franciscan ranked sixth all-time for doubles wins. The 2017-18 season saw him eclipse his previous record of 11 single-season doubles wins with 12; he also landed eighth all-time for most singles wins in a single season, with 12, good for a .571 season average.
Gallagher will graduate first all-time in career doubles wins with 55, and tied for first all-time in singles wins with 46. He is the first Franciscan men's tennis player to reach 100 career match wins, and his 18 singles wins for the 2017-18 season also ranks first, for singles wins in a single season
After a well-deserved summer break, the Barons will open the fall season looking to exceed already lofty program expectations.