Men’s tennis (6-3, 1-1 in the NESCAC) has had strong successes in the past few weeks. Most recently, however, the team suffered a tough loss to Amherst (20-4, 4-0), losing a close match 5-4.
The Ephs started the contest strong, going 2-1 in doubles. Nick Lebedoff ’10 and Will Petrie ’12 and Jeremy Weinberger ’10 and Kevin Shallcross ’12 easily won their first two doubles matches while Dicken Chaplin ’12 and tri-captain Bret Thacher ’09 lost a close contest.
The Ephs then split their next two singles matches with the Jeffs – tri-captain Rick Devlin ’09 won in two sets, and Petrie lost in two. The top two singles matches were highly competitive three-set matches, which saw the Jeffs ultimately emerge victorious. Lebedoff, playing first singles, had an early break in the first set but ultimately succumbed in three dramatic sets to his opponent. Weinberger won a thrilling second-set tiebreak but ran out of gas in the third. Thacher lost the second-to-last singles match in straight sets, putting the Jeffs up 5-3. Shallcross then played the last match of the day, winning in a super-tiebreaker.
Despite the loss, the team refuses to get discouraged. “Although losing to Amherst is not easy, we played great in doubles,” Devlin said. “In singles, we won first sets and had chances to close out matches. We are confident that those points and games will turn our way and are looking forward to this weekend’s home matches to get back on the winning side.”
Tri-captain Karol Furmaga ’09 echoed Devlin: “The match was also valuable in that it exposed some of our weaknesses, which if we improve upon, will make us unstoppable … We will [likely] face Amherst again … and I honestly believe the result will be in our favor.”
The men were more successful on Saturday, easily beating Tufts, 7-2. The Ephs prevailed, winning two of three doubles matches and five of six singles matches against the Jumbos.
During the spring break trip, the men earned valuable experience against four teams ranked in the top 15 nationally. “Spring break was overall a successful experience – we had the opportunity to compete with some of the best teams in the nation and see where we currently stand,” Furmaga said. Against these teams, the Ephs posted a strong 3-2 record.
Furmaga summed up the fortnight, saying, “Overall, the experience was very valuable in that it allowed us to pinpoint the areas where we have to improve upon and confirmed that everyone on the national stage is beatable.”
The Ephs hope the confidence and experience of spring break will help them in the week ahead. This week Williams faces Bowdoin, Colby and Bates, ranked 18, 19, and 20 respectfully. As Furmaga said, this grueling schedule “will require us to play our best in order to win. I am very optimistic that we will prevail.”