After an early exit from the ECAC Team Championships last week, the men’s tennis team bounced back this weekend by winning two of its three matches this weekend and improved its overall record to 4–5. The Bulldogs defeated Fairleigh Dickinson University 7–0 Saturday and Stony Brook University 4–3 on Sunday, but fell to Marist College 5–2 in a match that was split over Saturday and Sunday.
“I think we are slowly getting better and we would have won all three if we were healthy,” head coach Alex Dorato said. “For the most part, we did very well.”
Against the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights, the Bulldogs won all six singles matches without losing a set. The doubles teams continued their strong performances this spring by winning all three matches.
Marc Powers ’13 and Erik Blumenkranz ’12 defeated the Knights’ Dominic Hemy and Ibrahim Shams 8–5 at the No. 1 spot. Calvin Bennett ’11 and Joel Samaha ’12 won 8–6 at the No. 2 while John Huang ’13 and Tommy Ratchford ’14 completed the sweep at the No. 3 position, winning 8–3.
“I thought we performed very well this weekend,” Daniel Hoffman ’13 said. “We also had some young guys playing in the lineup. It was a good experience for them and we need these guys to step up in case of injuries.”
Because several players on the team are still recovering from injuries, the Bulldogs did not play their full lineup against the Marist Red Foxes, which improved their record to 4–0 after the weekend.
Hoffman defeated Nicolas Pisecky 6–3, 6–2 at the No. 3 singles spot while Samaha followed up with a three-set victory against Matt Himmelsbach 6–3, 2–6, 6–3 for the No. 4 position. The Bulldogs lost the rest of their singles matches against the Red Foxes in straight sets. The duo of Ryan Berman ’11 and Jordan Abergel ’11 accounted for the Elis’ only victory in doubles play, beating Pisecky and Landon Greene 8–6.
“Marist was tougher than we expected, and they had a very deep team,” Powers said. “Overall, we fought pretty hard and the enthusiasm was definitely there.”
In the final match of the weekend, the Bulldogs defeated the Stony Brook Seawolves in a closely contested match.
Playing at the No. 2 spot, Hoffman defeated Ivan Rummel 6–3, 6–3. Blumenkranz and Abergel easily won their matches in two sets at the No. 4 and 5 spots, respectively. The Bulldogs’ other three singles matches all ended up in three-set losses. Huang and Samaha were both bested after winning the first set. Zach Dean ’13, who was playing in his first singles match since October, lost to Mehmet Duru 6–7, 7–5, 1–0 (10).
The Elis secured the victory by sweeping doubles play for the second time in two days.
Dorato said that while playing three matches in a single weekend can be physically and mentally challenging to the players, the intensity ultimately helps to prepare them for future matches.
“It was really good training because you have to be in good shape and you really need to concentrate,” Dorato said. “Overall, I was very happy with the way we played.”
The Bulldogs will have next weekend off before facing Quinnipiac on March 11 and Binghamton on March 12.