It might be news to some, but tennis is in season! Last weekend, the men’s tennis team traveled to Middlebury, Vt. to square off against the Panthers in the ITA Regional Championships. The Cardinals competed well, sending a doubles team of Peter Anker ’22 and Zach Fleischman ’21 to the quarterfinals. In addition, Anker made it far in the singles bracket, eventually facing off against Middlebury’s former national champion Noah Farrell.
Due to the solid competition, the Birds felt that this past weekend was a great experience.
“The ITA at [Middlebury] was great,” Fleischman said. “It was an opportunity for us to see the rest of the competition in the NESCAC. Some of the best tennis schools, including us, are all in the NESCAC, so it’s a really competitive, tough division. It’s an opportunity for us to compete against the best in the nation.”
Few Cardinals made it past the second round, so the team knows that they can improve. Marcus Sweeney ’21 reflected on their overall performance.
“This past weekend at Middlebury, although we didn’t necessarily get the results we wanted, showed us that we have every bit of talent necessary to beat any team in the country,” Sweeney said. “We have a very young team, and with no seniors, it’s up to everyone to hold each other accountable to be the best version of themselves. Most importantly, this past weekend served to fire us all up for the spring season.”
Fleischman also believes the future is bright and is not concerned with the outcomes at Middlebury. The process, rather than current performance, is more important to the Red and Black.
“We have a couple years to build a great chemistry and culture together,” Fleischman said. “Wesleyan tennis prides itself on our team environment, so we all get along very well. We are all one big family, including with the women’s team.”
In addition to Middlebury, it’s important to note that earlier this fall, the Cards’ Zach Lieb ’22 won the singles flight at the Quinnipiac Invitational in his first collegiate competition. Congrats, Zach.
The women’s team also participated in the ITA Regional Championships at Williams College. Sisters Victoria Yu ’19 and Kristina Yu ’22 took home the doubles championship, as the women’s team continues its dominance of tennis in the northeast. Along with sweeping the Tufts’ Invitational earlier this fall, the Cards are off to a red hot start with key players in every grade.
Because the Yu sisters won the Regional, they will travel to Rome, Ga. to play in the ITA Cup, which is considered the national championship of the fall season. Best of luck to both of them.
Other highlights this past weekend include two of the team’s players making the semifinals. Two of the four semi-finalists were from Wes: first years Venia Yueng and K. Yu both made deep runs into the singles bracket. K. Yu finished second, dropping the final to Amherst’s Jacqueline Bukzin.
After a successful two weekends, the Red and Black have an opportunity to reflect on their performance.
“The main takeaway from this weekend is that we are on the right path to having an extremely successful season,” Zoe Klass-Warch ’21 said. “The first few tournaments this season have represented how hard we are working. Our results are good indicators of our dedication to training and competing this fall.”
Despite the success, the team is still looking ahead. Especially in a sport with two seasons, there is no time to take your foot off the gas.
“The team has grown so much just in the past month, and we are very excited for the Rhode Island dual matches this upcoming weekend,” Klass-Warch said. “There is always room for improvement—we are focused on improving our mindset during matches because it’s a key component to competing at the highest level.”
Here’s to hoping the women’s team continues their success for the reason of the fall season. This next weekend, they travel to the University of Rhode Island for an invitational.
Ben Owen can be reached at email@example.com.