Looking to extend its win streak to four straight contests, the men’s tennis team needed little motivation for the Sunday, April 21 match against Conn College. The Cardinals were ready to jump out to a quick start, hoping to put any doubt about the day’s contest behind them early.
“We weren’t looking past them. That is for sure,” said captain Michael Glen ’13. “We lost to them last year [3-6], and we knew that a loss against Conn would have made our previous accomplishments a bit less impressive.”
The Cardinals have exhibited a great deal of mental toughness thus far in the season. With three consecutive 5-4 victories, one could say that tough makeup serves as one of Wesleyan’s strongest qualities. On Senior Day, a day the Cardinals honored their four-year senior captains Glen and Jeff Legunn, Wesleyan had extra motivation not to let up against the Camels and take home a fourth-straight win. Wes did not disappoint and cruised past Conn 8-1.
“We got a good win today. Obviously, every victory is special, and having this be the first year we’ve seen this kind of success means we certainly won’t take things for granted,” said Alex Rachlin ’15. “But [Sunday’s] win against Conn was definitely for our seniors. Jeff and Thad [Glen] have been the emotional leaders of our team all year, and it was a nice tribute to them walking away with a commanding win.”
Wesleyan’s doubles play again offered an immediate spark for the Cardinals, who took all three matches to begin the contest. Playing as the #1 pairing, the tandem of Zach Brint ’16 and Sam Rudovsky ’16 won the closest of three doubles matches 8-4. Brint and Rudovsky both went on to take individual matches in singles play, accounting for three of Wesleyan’s eight victories on the day. Brint knocked off his opponent at #5 easily, winning 6-1, 6-3. Rudovsky faired just as well, taking his first set in a tiebreaker and eventually winning in straight sets at the #3 seed 7-6, 6-3.
The undefeated duo of Legunn and Michael King ’16 remained just that, coasting to an 8-2 victory at #2 doubles; for the year, the duo sits at 9-0 in doubles play. The #3 doubles pairing of Stephen Monk ’15 and Donovan Suh ’15 mirrored their teammates’ results, also managing to grab an easy 8-2 win.
On the day, Wesleyan went 3-0 in doubles competition and 5-1 in singles play. Adding on to the singles victories of Brint and Rudovsky were Stephen Monk at the #1 spot, Jeff Legunn in a super tiebreak at #4, and Ben Hudson ’15 at #6. Monk took his match in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5, finishing with two victories on the day. The captain and #4 singles player Legunn also grabbed two victories on the day, pulling through in singles 1-6, 7-6 (10-8). Not to be outdone, #6 singles player Ben Hudson ’15 continued his good play in his only action on Sunday, taking a straight-set victory 6-2, 6-0.
The decisive 8-1 victory warrants mild celebration, but the Cardinals know their ultimate goals still exist beyond the horizon. Putting things into perspective, Glen remarked that there is much more to look forward to than four straight victories on the season.
“We know that we’re on a four-game win streak, but we have to keep working hard,” Glen said. “We aren’t hoping for the highlight of our season to come right now. We’re going to prepare for our matches next weekend against Colby and Bates and see where we go from there.”
Action resumes this Saturday, April 27 at home against Colby. The Mules have only grabbed one NESCAC victory this year and are looking to repeat history with the 6-3 victory they gained over Wesleyan last season. The next day, the Cardinals will travel up north to face a nationally ranked Bates squad. A victory over Bates would ensure a favorable seeding in the NESCAC tournament and perhaps a national ranking for the first time in years.
“We know all of that is possible,” Glen said. “But we really are just focusing on what is directly in front of us. And for now, that’s Colby.”