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Men's Tennis: Team Toughened up for conference play

UMKC’s men’s tennis team defeated Oral Roberts 4-0 last Sunday at the Carriage Club in a match that was rescheduled due to inclement weather.

The Roos have started slowly with a 2-7 non-conference record.

“It is all my fault,” Coach Kendell Hale acknowledged. “I scheduled very tough non-conference games.”

Hale claimed there is no reason to panic, though.

“We are known for our slow starts” he said. “I am pretty sure we will do great in the conference.”

In 2012, the squad overcame numerous injuries early in the season and captured a share of a third consecutive regular-season Summit League title. Hale seems confident his team will succeed again.

“The big thing is unity, coming together as a team,” he said. “This is an individual sport played in a team format.”

Despite the team’s record, some players have stood out.

Tomas Patino was was named Summit League’s men’s Player of the week for his performances Feb. 12-18. A junior from Medellin, Colombia, he also received the award three weeks earlier.

While earning his second honor, Patino gained a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Grant Taylor of Air Force in a Number 2 singles match. The next day he defeated Arkansas’ Mike Ward 1-6, 6-4, 10-7 in Number 1 singles and teamed with Grant Fleming in an 8-4 doubles victory. .

Patino stands 9-4 in singles this season, though his match Sunday against Oral Roberts’ Jason Mechali was one of three singles matches not finished.

“I am glad about these achievements” said Patino. “My only goal is to help the team.”

Next, the Roos will host conference matches against South Dakota State on March 22

and IUPUI two days later.

“We’ve got to be as mentally tough as possible” said Hale. “Fortunately we have another week to get ready to start against two tough rivals.”

dmoreno@unews.com

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