Men’s Tennis Ends Season with Losses Against Amherst
As the fall season comes to a close, and with months of preparation on the horizon between now and the next competitive match, the men’s tennis team seems satisfied with how things have gone. Despite the 1-4 record accumulated, the Cardinals feel they have turned a corner in the process of becoming a legitimate contender in Division III tennis. In fact, if this past Saturday proved anything, it was that on any given day Wesleyan can compete with anyone in the country.
“The match against Amherst was a tough one, but it was one in which we grew as a team,” Alex Rachlin ’15 asserted. “We learned that we have the ability to beat a team that is top 10 in the nation, and gained confidence in the process. Last Saturday was the most support our team has shown for each other in my time here at Wesleyan. We’re proud of the way this fall season ended.”
The Cardinals entered their match against Amherst coming off three consecutive losses—all of which the team believes it should have won. Even more, the Lord Jeffs, who have won both of the last two NESCAC titles and reached the national quarterfinals four years running, seemed to be opponents who were too much for the Cardinals to handle. And though the outcome seemed to be dramatically in the Lord Jeffs’ favor, the 1-8 loss does not tell the whole story.
The highlight of the match involves #4 seed Sam Rudovsky ’16, who beat his opponent handily, 6-2, 6-2. The victory marks Rudovsky’s second win of the year and promises a solid showing at singles for the remainder of the year. The other eight contests all went to Amherst—but not without a fight. Of the five defeats in singles to Amherst, three went to super-tiebreakers. Number one seed and tri-captain Jeff Legunn ’13 took his opponent to a tiebreaker, but ultimately fell, 6-7, 6-0 (9-11). In the same manner, #3 seed Michael King ’16 and #6 seed Zach Brint ’16 took their opponents to tiebreakers before both falling 7-10.
The doubles matches against Amherst were just as close for Brint and King. The #1 doubles pairing lost a hard-fought battle to Amherst 8-9. Rounding out the play, the #2 doubles team of Rudovsky and Legunn fell 1-8, and the #3 team of tri-captain Donald Kleckner ’13 and Stephen Monk ’15 lost a close match 5-8.
Though the score seems to suggest an easy victory for Amherst, this was far from the case. In fact, if a few bounces had gone in the Cardinals’ direction during their super-tiebreakers, the team would be looking at the possibility of a 5-4 victory against a national power.
It is this sentiment that prevails as the team looks forward to the spring season. Tri-captain Michael Glen ’13 summed it up after the match against Amherst.
“Our fall season has proved we can compete with any team in the NESCAC or any other conference,” Glen said. “During the offseason we will continue to train hard so that we can come out strong in the spring.”
The spring season the Cardinals so obviously look forward to begins over spring break when they make their annual trip to Florida for preseason training and matches. In the meantime, the team will use every opportunity it has to improve so that next time it will be on the winning end against a Little Three rival.