Head Coach Carl Goodman can add another win to the men’s tennis team 14-8 season record after defeating non-conference competitor Mercer University 6-1 at the Rattler Tennis Courts Tuesday afternoon.
It will be a long bus ride to Macon, Ga. for Mercer University who came to town with one thing in mind – revenge. This is the second consecutive season Mercer fell to the Rattlers.
FAMU wouldn’t let Mercer exact that revenge, as the team quickly gained control of the match after grabbing the doubles point with No.2 doubles team Clifford Malivert and William Mau-asam’s 8-5 win. Jarrel Williams and Paul Paige followed shortly after with an 8-3 win that gave the team a one-point advantage heading into singles match-ups.
Goodman said the team is poised to take on the second half of the season, which may prove to be a little more difficult.
“The second half of the season by far is the toughest,” Goodman said. He went on to add the team’s preparation for this match was rather light because of the men’s recent weekend match ups.
The Rattlers quickly kicked into gear during singles play.
No.4 seat Mau-asam, a 5’10 junior who is currently on a 14-game winning streak, swept away his opponent with a 6-1, 6-1 defeat.
Mau-asam, who was very humble about his recent victories, said he tries not to think about his wins and focuses more on just playing the game.
“I just try to play every match like it’s my last,” said the power player whose serve and volley game helped him close out the doubles match. Mau-asam said he tries to facilitate a winning attitude among his fellow Rattlers.
“I try to encourage my teammates and keep them focus on one thing, to win,” Mau-asam said.
The Rattlers’ team captain Malivert struggled during his singles match after closing out his first set 6-1 and ended with a fight against himself in unforced errors, which ended the second set at 7-5.
“I just told him [Malivert] to cut down on his mistakes, bring his shots up and finish it out,” Goodman said.
No.5 seat Williams, a 5’10 senior, was the first to close out his singles match after bringing down his opponent 6-2 in the first set and ending his second at 2-0 due to Mercer’s default.
Although the team had already accounted for the four points that declared victory, the fight on court 1 managed to capture the attention of the rather unusual large turnout.
Artiom Podgainii, No.1 seat, stepped his game up a notch and dazzled the crowd with an impressive 6-1, 6-0 win. Podgainii, who is also on a winning streak, cut down his opponent and closed out the Rattlers game nearly flawless.
“I just try to play my game and hope that I can bring this winning streak with me to the championships,” Podgainni said.
The Rattlers who are now ranked No.2 in the MEAC behind South Carolina State, look to take this boost of confidence with them and bring home the championship this season.
However, FAMU hopes to shake the curse that followed the men in their last few MEAC tournament that caused the men to loose in the finals.
“For the past few years we have been falling short in the finals, I just hope we play solid and bring home the win,” said a anxious Mau-asam who went on to saying ” we just have to stay confident.”
The Rattlers look to take on Norfolk State on the 24th of March and hope that momen-
tum will eventually lead them to finally take home the title as MEAC championship in April.
“We beat Southeastern Lousiana who won their conference; this only proves that we are capable of the MEA C title,” Goodman said.
In winning the MEAC Goodman feels that the youth will mature and be able to continue the success and bring home more championship to in the future.
“Doc is helping us maximize our talent. We know we can do it, we just have to loosen up,” said Mau-asam.
“Hopefully my winning streak will follow me in the MEAC tournament,” Podgainii said.