Northwest tennis has been on a roll as of late, collecting seven straight match victories since March 6, while the women’s team quietly won its fourth dual in a row.
The Bearcats were able to knock off Oklahoma Baptist with identical 6-1 scores on both the men’s and women’s side March 9 in Red Oak, Iowa.
The following day, both squads notched decisive wins over Newman at the Genesis Indoor Courts in St. Joseph, March 10. In men’s competition, Northwest swept the Jets 7-0 and won all six matches in straight sets. For the women, they collected a 6-1 decision after dropping the No. 1 singles match.
“We’re getting some matches under our belt right now,” coach Mark Rosewell said. “It's always hard to play those nationally ranked teams indoors because they practice every day indoors, which is a huge advantage for them. When we get outside — we’re an outdoor team — that’s going to help us a lot too.”
Looking forward, the women’s team will head south for a matchup against conference rival Missouri Western to stretch its four dual winning streak to five while the men prepare regional and conference matchups against Harding and Emporia state March 16-17, respectively.
“I think we had a pretty good weekend,” sophomore Agustin Velasco said. “We won three matches in a row, and that’s good for the team for getting confidence before the conference and regional matches.”
In the last 33 years, the Bearcats have come out on top of the Griffons in the last 34 meetings. Although the rivalry is one-sided, Rosewell isn’t discounting the rivalry just yet and said the young leadership of his women’s team has impressed him.
“We’ve got some juniors on the team, and we’ve had some starters for three years, so we have a little more experience than people think,” Rosewell said. “They (the juniors) are doing a great job.”
With two young teams under Rosewell’s guidance, he explained with the schedule being as busy as it is, playing these two competitive teams provides “certainly enough motivation,” for his squads.
“The first match that we have is Harding, and we lost against them last season,” Velasco said. “We really want to play them and beat them, so we will try and do our best, and we know we are much better this season, but we have to stay focused and do our best.”
With the wins over the last weekend, Rosewell collected his 1,097th win during his time with the Bearcats. The 37-year veteran coach could eclipse the 1,100 win mark this weekend with wins in all scheduled duals.
Rosewell said he was thankful for everything Northwest has done for him during his tenure in Maryville.
“I’m extremely lucky and happy,” Rosewell said. “I’ve been blessed with a great school here and people who are interested in having a strong athletic tennis program. You’ve got to have those kinds of things to go as long as I’ve coached here.”