After rounding out a successful spring break trip against some of the top competition in the nation, men’s tennis rose to fourth in the ITA’s Div. III national rankings. The most recent win in the Ephs’ string of successes came against Amherst in a 6-3 decision at home on Saturday. With the win, the Ephs move to 7-1 on the spring.
Looking to tally their first NESCAC victory of the season, the Ephs played solidly in opening doubles play, managing to take two of the three matches against the Jeffs.
With a 2-1 advantage at hand, Williams took the next three singles matches to quickly clinch the win. Co-captain Dan Greenberg ’08 got the ball rolling in singles play, as he was the first to close out his opponent in a 6-3, 6-3 showing. At court two, Nick Lebedoff ’10 took care of his match quickly as well, winning by scores of 6-3, 6-2.
One win away from a team victory, Jeremy Weinberger ’10 had difficulty putting away his Jeff counterpart. After easily taking the first set, Weinberger dropped the second. He came out firing in the deciding third set to win the first five games before finishing the set at 6-2. The match ended with Williams on top 6-3.
Although the Ephs cruised past Union in a 9-0 sweep on April 2, and then defeated Amherst the following Saturday, the team still believes there is work to do. “We hope to keep sharpening our competitive skills,” Greenberg said. “All of us are hitting well, now we just want to make sure we keep getting mentally tougher.”
The team’s mental toughness was certainly tested during their West Coast swing over spring break. The Ephs posted a 5-1 record on the trip and defeated four nationally ranked squads. A most impressive win came against nationally third-ranked Washington University.
Williams was ranked ninth in the polls at that point in the season and bounced back from a 2-1 deficit after doubles play to take five of six singles matches. The team proved its tenacity, particularly Weinberger who outlasted his opponent in a first set marathon tiebreak that ended at 17-15.
Although the trip was an important building block for the season, conference play is most vital. “This next month of NESCAC play is really what matters,” Greenberg said. “We have to keep improving; nobody cares how well we did over spring break if we don’t do well in our own conference.”
Williams will host Middlebury on today at 4 p.m.