QUINCY -- Since when is the weather in March in Quincy better than the weather in San Diego?
The University of California-San Diego tennis team had lost four matches this spring because of rain, and the last time it took the court was on March 13 against Quinnipiac at home.
Tritons coach Timmer Willing was desperate to find dry courts for his team to play on, and the closest indoor tennis facility is in San Francisco. So after playing their first 13 matches in either California or Hawaii this spring, the Tritons made the trip to Quincy on Tuesday afternoon.
"I told our athletic director, ‘Let's go to some places we haven't played, because I want to get two or three matches,'" Willing said. "So we might as well go where I know there are (indoor and outdoor) courts."
Willing, a Quincy High School graduate, contacted Quincy University coach Mark Schuering to set up Tuesday's match before the Tritons go to Kirksville, Mo., on Wednesday to play Truman State, where Willing once played and coached.
"Right now, the Midwest is looking pretty good to the people from San Diego," Schuering said. "They've been dealing with pretty lousy weather."
And if the weather was lousy in Quincy on Tuesday, the backup plan was to play at the Quincy Racquet Club, where his brother, Todd, is the head tennis pro.
However, the Tritons got to play the Hawks on a sun-splashed afternoon with temperatures in the mid-50s. UCSD improved its record to 6-8 with a dominant 7-0 victory over the Hawks (6-7).
Sreeganesh Manoharan and Zach Ermert are ranked No. 41 in the NCAA Division II doubles rankings, but they were split on Tuesday. Manoharan and Neil Tengbumroong beat Brenden Everhart and Erik Weiler 6-3, while Ermert and Richard Han defeated Collin Adams and Samuele Contestabile 6-2
The best match of the day for the Hawks came at No. 1 singles where Contestabile, a freshman from Celano, Italy, lost 6-3, 6-3 to Sahm Irvine. Dane Mechali took Ermert to a tiebreaker in the first set of a 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 loss.
After taking the team to his parents' house in Quincy for breakfast, a sight-seeing tour was planned for the afternoon with stops at the Lincoln-Douglas Debate site as well as Indian Mounds.
Willing also had other purposes in making the trip. Truman State's tennis program was in danger last May when school officials announced the program would be dropped, but enough money has been raised to keep the program alive for at least one more season.
"They're struggling with their program at Truman, and I'm going to see if there's anything I can help with," Willing said. "We helped Hawaii-Hilo in a similar way by making a promise to play them each year. I just hope to bring some light to a program that has done well in the past, and if there's anything I can do, I will."
Willing also wanted his players to experience what tennis life is like in Quincy.
"We're pretty spoiled in San Diego," he said. "We get lucky because it's pretty warm, we see the beach, it's 60 to 70 degrees every day, the scorecards are out, the water jugs are out, the training facilities are there.
"Now you get to see how the rest of the world has to live. Mark and Todd are out there cleaning up leaves, picking up score cards, filling up the water jugs. My guys are good at appreciating that all of those things that are taken care of for them.
"I remember when Mark Schuering was teaching us how to play doubles, and he was beating all of us when I was a kid. I remember how (Quincy High School coach) Mike Terry would always tell us at a restaurant, "You leave this place better than the way you entered it." You made sure your chairs were pushed in. You cleaned up your mess. Those things don't happen everywhere, but when my guys left my parents' house this morning, they were pushing their chairs in.
"That's the kind of stuff people tend to forget."
Which is why it's not such a crazy idea to leave San Diego for Quincy in March.
UC San Diego 7, Quincy 0
Sreeganesh Manoharan/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) d. Brenden Everhart/Erik Weiler (QU) 6-3
Zach Ermert/Richard Han (UCSD) d. Collin Adams/Samuele Contestabile (QU) 6-2
Sahm Irvine/Marius Ruh (UCSD) d. Patrick Anderson/Dane Mechali (QU) 6-1
Sahm Irvine (UCSD) d. Samuele Contestabile (QU) 6-3, 6-3
Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) d. Brenden Everhart (QU) 6-1, 6-2
Zach Ermert (UCSD) d. Dane Mechali (QU) 7-6 (7-2), 6-1
Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) d. Erik Weiler (QU) 6-0, 6-1
Marius Ruh (UCSD) d. Patrick Anderson (QU) 6-0, 6-1
Richard Han (UCSD) d. Daniel Sanchez (QU) 6-2, 6-1