After piecing together two dominant performances Saturday, the Rattlers tennis team is heading toward the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tennis Tournament with momentum.
Florida A&M steamrolled the North Carolina Central Eagles 5-1, and 15 minutes later, flattened the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks 7-0 at the NCCU Tennis Complex in Durham, N.C.
The Rattlers, who rank No. 72 rank in the nation, now look to hold on to their spot in the standing as they enter the final stretch of the season. FAMU has three matches left before the MEAC tournament on April 12.
FAMU controlled the court against the Hawks during game one. Salif Kante handed Jack Waissen a lopsided 8-1 defeat in the first singles flight. Takura Happy defeated Jose Fabara 6-2, 6-2 in flight two. Levan Clark conquered Fabrice George 6-1, 6-0 in flight three. Chidi Gabriel trumped Tamina Kienka 6-0, 6-2 in flight four, while Fabrice Myrtil defeated Jamal Hoyte 7-5, 6-4. Temuera Asafu-adjaye won his match by default.
The Rattlers returned to action shortly after and handed the Hawks a shutout defeat.
Myrtil, a junior, said earning victories this weekend was not a challenge because FAMU is a stronger program that NCCU and UMES. He added that playing consecutive matches with little rest in between was not an issue for the Rattlers because they are well conditioned.
“It went the way it was supposed to; these were easy matches,” Myrtil said. “After we played one team, we didn’t need the rest. We are all in good shape, so we were ready to get back in and play the next team to get the win.
“We are always ready to play. With the MEAC, we play three games back to back. So we don’t look at this as a problem.”
Kante, co-captain, said he was impressed with the team’s performances but expected wins because conference matches are easier than others are.
“Our performance was great today, and I am proud of how we executed,” Kante said. “We did great in terms of closing out our shots. These are conference matches, and we knew going to these matches that we would have an easier time.”
Gabriel, a junior, said the team is now poised to conclude this season on a strong note because it has accomplished most of its goals.
“Now that the championship is coming up shortly, we have nothing but confidence,” Gabriel said. “We have a head full head of steam now knowing that we’ve accomplished most of our goals this season. With each win, we become more solid as a team.”
FAMU will return to action Saturday to take on conference-rival South Carolina State at the FAMU Tennis Complex. The match begins at 1 p.m.