Hungry Badgers' men's tennis team chomping at the bit to begin conference play

Wisconsin men’s tennis has come into 2017 locked and loaded.

The young group, led by lone senior John Zordani, has racked up an impressive four wins in five matches this season—including two 7-0 sweeps of South Dakota State and Middle Tennessee.

The Badgers’ only loss came last week against a strong Pennsylvania team, when they fell in hostile territory to the Quakers, 4-3.

Junior Chema Carranza has been everything head coach Danny Westerman could ask for. He’s won his last three singles matches, including a gutsy comeback in the team’s win over Princeton Feb. 12. After losing the first set in a beat down, winning just one game, Carranza won the second set in a tiebreak and then sealed the deal with a tight 7-5 win in the third.

Freshman Chase Colton and Junior captain Lamar Remy have been dynamic in the No. 2 doubles slot for the Badgers. They’ve played five matches together and have yet to allow any opponent to reach five games. Outscoring their opposition 30-15 games, Westerman has found a winning combination in the duo.

The veteran Zordani has demonstrated his experience daily, dicing up opponents in singles and doubles. In his only singles match this spring, Zordani won in straight sets—shutting out South Dakota State’s Lucas Pereira in the first and dropping only three games in the second. In doubles, Zordani has been playing with Osgar O’Hoisin, a sophomore from Dublin, Ireland. Together they’ve gone 4-1, winning their last match against Princeton thanks to a grueling 15-13 tiebreak.

The Badgers have a tall order ahead of them in Big Ten play. Of the top 25 teams in the country, four hail from the Big Ten, with No. 3 Ohio State leading the pack. The Buckeyes have yet to lose, making quick work of all their opponents thus far. The other three—No. 7 Northwestern, No. 17 Illinois and No. 18 Michigan—are all circled on the Badgers’ calendar, as they have not fared well against those programs in the past. Against the Wolverines, UW is just 8-77-1 all-time and has lost the last seven matches in a row.

While it isn’t ranked, Minnesota also presents a huge threat for UW. They took care of business against Pennsyvlania a week prior to Wisconsin’s loss. The Badgers will host the Gophers in their second match of conference play Mar. 11.

In his second year at the helm for the Badgers after coaching Denver for nine years, Westerman is looking to build on his historic first season. Last year, his team got off to a record-setting 13-1 record to open the season.

Westerman and company hope their impressive Big Ten opponents won’t stand in the way of another great season and a chance to improve upon last year’s eighth-place finish in the Big Ten. The Badgers open conference play March 5 with a road matchup with Iowa.

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