Knox failed to hold off Lake Forest College and Carroll University Saturday, as both teams to swept Knox 9-0. The first game against Lake Forest proved to be difficult for the Prairie Fire, as Lake Forest easily swept all doubles teams, including the powerhouse duo of seniors Walter Palmer and Karl Ruzgas. Singles proved no better as Palmer played to no avail against one of Lake Forest’s finest, losing 6-2, 6-0. “I felt I played pretty well,” Palmer said. “This guy has won twice the rate of single matches in conference and I knew him going in, so I’m happy with how I played. I look forward to playing him inside next time,” Palmer said.
Knox kept their heads high, Lake Forest features some of the highest caliber players in conference. “Lake Forest has had a really strong showing this season and right now they’re looking at being the second best team in the conference… they were strong last year and even stronger now,” said Head Coach Miriam Skrade.
The weather was much more forgiving, a balmy 75 degrees and sunny, as the team went into their second match of the day versus Carroll University. This match marked the last home game of the season for the team, also making it their senior game. Many parents sat cheering the team on, unfortunately, this didn’t seem to help the Prairie Fire as they were swept once again in doubles and then in singles. Freshman Ashwin Kushwaha proved to be the biggest team asset behind senior teammates Palmer and Ruzgas. He dropped a tough battle against Carroll’s number three singles player, 6-3, 7-5.
When confronted with the question of what went wrong, leading to both game losses, there was “A lack of footwork that snowballed into lack of consistency on my part,” Ruzgas said of his doubles performance. “But next week is the conference tournament so I’ll definitely hype that up a little bit, it will be a lot more exciting.”
As the team moves into the conference tournament next week, they will be facing tough competitors and will need to bring their best games. “We’re trying to make sure that they’re really present in the moment, watching the ball tight, looking for opportunities to close, finish points … the theme we always work with is stringing points together, so when you win a few, stay focused and try to keep doing the same thing to close out the games,” Skrade said.