The men’s tennis team played two extremely important NESCAC matches last weekend. On Saturday, April 9, the Cards played Tufts, the No. 17 team in the nation. After a 7-2 victory over Amherst last weekend, Tufts looked to keep up their momentum with a win over the Cardinals. However, in a packed Bacon Field House, the Cards were able to breeze to an 8-1 victory over the Jumbos. The very next afternoon, Wesleyan traveled up to Williamstown, Mass. to play one of its Little Three rivals, Williams. The Cardinals, unfortunately, were unable to upset the No. 9 ranked team.
With the crushing victory over Tufts, the Cardinals showed the NESCAC that it is a force to be reckoned with. The Cards came out firing, winning their three doubles matches with ease. The duo of Zacko Brint ’16 and Greg Lyon ’17 defeated competitors Nick Cary and Rohan Gupte, 8-4 at the No. 1 position. At the No. 2 doubles position, Michael Liu ’17 and Steven Chen ’18 were able to pick apart their opponents, Nik Telkedzhiev and Griffin Brockman, with a win of 8-2. The last doubles team to finish, featuring Joachim Samson ’19 and Sam Rudovsky ’16, defeated their opponents decisively with a score of 8-4.
Wesleyan also dominated singles play, winning five of the six positions. All five of these victories came in impressive straight-set victories. At the No. 1 position, Liu defeated Gupte easily 6-1, 6-3. Liu was able to outpace and outplay his less experienced sophomore opponent. At the No. 2 position, Chen eviscerated Glickman at 6-1, 6-2, allowing him to keep his undefeated streak in NESCAC competition alive. Chen has proved to be nearly unbeatable at the No. 2 position this year. Each of Wesleyan’s singles players at the No. 3, 4, and 6 positions were able to come out on top in overwhelming fashion. Tiago Eusebio ’18 claimed a win 6-1, 6-3 over his challenger at the third position. Samson, once again, was overpowering and breezed through his No. 4 opponent 6-1, 6-1. The last Cardinal win on the day came from Cameron Daniels ’18. This was Daniels’ first start of the season and it proved to be a good one, with a straight-set victory over the opposition, 6-4, 6-1.
On Sunday, April 10, the Cardinals traveled to Williamstown, Mass. to take on the Williams Ephs. Due to cold weather, the match was moved indoors. It was apparent from the start that the Wesleyan side was put at a disadvantage by playing on this unfamiliar surface. Some on the team claimed that the surface at Williams was completely different from the courts in Bacon Field House, throwing most of the players off. The courts were fast and the Williams men were prepared. The Cards came out a bit slow, maybe because of a tough match against Tufts the day before, and got swept in the first five matches. Wesleyan’s doubles teams had a tough time handling the hard-serving Ephs. At No. 1 doubles, Brint and Lyon fell 8-4. Liu and Chen got swept 8-0 at the No. 2 spot. The last doubles duo of the day, Samson and Rudovsky, lost a tough match, 8-4.
The singles, sadly, were not able to halt Williams’ momentum. The Ephs only needed two more points to clinch the match, and were able to do this at No. 1 and No. 3 singles. Liu lost a hard fought match in straight-sets, 6-4, 6-1. Similarly, Eusebio fell 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3 to Brian Grodecki. The rest of the singles matches did not finish play after Williams secured their fifth win because the Purple Cows had another match against Conn College later that day. Before he had to stop play, Chen was up one set to none. It looked promising that he could have secured another win at the No. 2 position. Samson was also tied 5-5 in the second set before stopping play.
Lyon admitted that they were outmatched in many aspects of the game.
“They just played really well and served better than us, percentage-wise and in general,” said Lyon. “It is hard to win when you go down 3-0 in doubles. The remaining courts were actually fighting back and winning.”
Wesleyan plays three key NESCAC matches this week. Wednesday, April 13 the team suits up against Trinity in Middletown at 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, April 16, they take on Hamilton in Clinton, N.Y. Lastly, on Sunday, April 17, the Cardinals will go toe-to-toe with little-three rival, Amherst. Amherst looks to be the match of the week, as they are ranked three spots ahead of Wesleyan at No. 8 in the nation.