The Florida A&M men’s tennis team was swept on its home court 7-0 by the Troy University Trojans on Saturday. But there is little time for players to dwell on an embarrassing loss.
The team is preparing to head north to Raleigh, N.C., to seek its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship in 10 years. The Rattlers enter the contest as the No. 1 seed in the southern division of the MEAC.
Senior Forrest Jenkins said the loss to Troy put the Rattlers on alert. He said the team may have become complacent after sweeping the MEAC (3-0) in conference play, but now they are looking to improve.
“I’m disappointed at the result, but it’s definitely a wake up call before going into our conference championship,” Jenkins said. “It’s forcing everyone on the team to tighten up and not take our undefeated MEAC record for granted. We can still do better.”
Jenkins lost his singles match in straight sets (6-1, 6-1). Paired with junior Maurice Wamukowa in doubles, they lost 8-2.
Freshman Temuera Asafu-Adjaye said the Rattlers could have made it a closer contest if they had won the points they were accustomed to winning during conference play.
“I thought Troy was pretty solid as a team, but it wasn’t as if they were out of our reach,” Asafu-Adjaye said. “We needed a few pivotal games here and there and we would have been in it.”
Asafu-Adjaye lost his singles match in straight sets (6-4, 6-4) and won his doubles match with freshman Takura Happy 8-6. Their doubles victory was the only match (of six singles and three doubles) that the Rattlers won against the Trojans.
Asafu-Adjaye said the Rattlers typically count on getting the doubles point in matches but failed to do so against Trojans. The top-seeded doubles team, senior David Jackson and junior Michael Moore, is usually reliable but was not enough for the Trojans’ top doubles team, Asafu-Adjaye said.
“Their top doubles team was very strong, and that’s a match that we usually rely on to get the doubles point,” he said.
Florida A&M will face Delaware State in the opening round of the MEAC championship tournament on Friday and will play until the team is eliminated.
The MEAC championship will be held in Raleigh’s Millbrook Tennis Center from Friday through Sunday.
Asafu-Adjaye and his teammates are looking forward to capturing some hardware.
“The boys really want this, as the championship title has kind of eluded the team in recent years,” Asafu-Adjaye said. “I’m really excited about playing my first MEAC championship and I feel motivated to bring it back for some of the older players, because we have a great chance to do it this year.”