NEW ULM - New Ulm freshman Calvin Collum doesn't usually get the chance to play at No. 1 singles, but he stepped into the role during Thursday's South Central Conference tennis match against Waseca.
Collum received all he could handle from Bluejays No. 1 Jacob Denn, who defeated Collum 6-1, 6-0 as the Eagles fell by a 6-1 score in the match.
"He was able to put a lot of spin on it so that it would jump at me," Collum said of Denn. "It worked pretty well."
Collum stayed within striking distance of Denn by winning the third game of the first set, but Denn's consistently powerful first serve and strong forehand allowed him to stay in control throughout the match.
"I kind of wanted just to see what I could do to get him in and hope he would make the first mistake before I did," Collum said.
Despite the loss, Collum was glad to gain some valuable experience from playing an opponent that he described as "one of the best I've seen so far."
"I take it as a learning experience," Collum said. "I learned a lot from playing someone that's a lot better than me, I learned what to do, what to improve on and what not to do."
Collum's promotion to No. 1 singles was just one of changes that the Eagles made to the lineup on the day.
"We changed the lineup somewhat," New Ulm head coach Joe Poncin said. "One of our regular doubles players was gone, and so we thought we would try to change the lineup and see what would happen in the doubles, if we could pull out some victories."
New Ulm was competitive in each of its doubles matches, with Michal Maudal and Josh Koelpin earning the Eagles' lone victory at No. 2 doubles by a score of 6-4, 6-1.
Isaiah Johnson and Juan Caceres-Gomez lost 6-2, 6-4 for the Eagles at No. 1 doubles and David Stuk and Billy Griffith were defeated 6-3, 6-0 at No. 3 doubles.
The Bluejays won comfortably in each of the singles matches.
"Singles, I knew we were going to be in trouble there, but the boys gave it their best effort, so I can't complain," Poncin said.
New Ulm (1-1 overall, 0-1 in conference play) will get a chance to rebound when it hosts New Prague on Monday. New Prague also suffered a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Waseca, so Poncin feels that Monday's match should be pretty closely contested.
"You've got to learn from your defeats as well as your victories, and we just look at it as a process," Poncin said. "We want to learn from what happened today and move on from there."
Singles: No. 1 - Jacob Denn (W) def. Calvin Collum (NU) 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 - John Lewer (W) def. Josh Menzel (NU) 6-0, 6-2; No. 3 - Matt Metzdorff (W) def. Sam Frederickson (NU) 6-0, 6-1; No. 4 - Ben Johnson (W) def. Mads Soegaard (NU) 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles: No. 1 - Josh Kimball and Josh Metzdorff (W) def. Isaiah Johnson and Juan Caceres-Gomez (NU) 6-2, 6-4; No. 2 - Michael Maudal and Josh Koelpin (NU) def. Ryan VonEnde and Dakota Johnson (W) 6-4, 6-1; No. 3 - John Janssen and Michael Butterfield (W) def. David Stuk and Billy Griffith (NU) 6-3, 6-0.