Men’s tennis sweeps weekend

Men’s tennis (9-3 overall, 4-1 NESCAC) had an outstanding weekend, cruising to victories over Bowdoin (10-5, 5-3) and Colby (4-7, 2-5) on Saturday and Sunday and defeating Bates (8-4, 3-4) 7-2 on Monday.

“[The] win against Bates was a very satisfying way to finish off the marathon weekend – everyone came prepared with the ‘all-day mentality’ and executed the game plan,” tri-captain Karol Furmaga ’09 said.

The Ephs opened on a strong note taking doubles 2-1. The first doubles team of Bret Thacher ’09 and Dicken Chaplin ’12 lost their match 7-9, but both the second team of Nick Lebedoff ’10 and Will Petrie ’12 and the third team of Jeremy Weinberger ’10 and Kevin Shallcross ’12 won their matches 9-8 and 9-0, respectively. The men used their momentum, going 5-1 in their singles matches. Lebedoff and Weinberger seated in the top slots easily won in straight sets. However, the Bobcats refused to be defeated so easily – Devlin lost the third singles match, and Shallcross, playing in the four spot, was pushed to three sets before ultimately winning. Furmaga and Thacher easily defeated their opponents in straight sets to cap off the victory.

Before the match against Bates, the team began their grueling weekend with a face-off against Bowdoin. “[They are] always a challenging opponent,” Fumaga said, “but our … mental toughness allowed us to overtake them at almost every position.”

Rain halted play before the doubles team had completed more than two games, so the matches were moved indoors. This sudden change could have proved problematic, but the Ephs were up to the challenge. “We are used to playing indoors up here in the Northeast,” Head Coach Dave Donn said, “[and] it certainly has no affect either way – we are conditioned to be ready for whatever the weather brings our way.”

Even though the Ephs were undeterred by the surface change, the Polar Bears were still able to grab a 2-1 lead coming out of the doubles matches. However, the Ephs refused to panic and won the next three singles matches decisively. The Polar Bears were able to push Petrie and Shallcross to three sets, but both weathered the challenge and emerged victorious to clinch a Williams win.

Saturday’s victory certainly helped erase the pain of the team’s loss to archrival Amherst the week before. On Sunday, Williams was able to repeat its strong performance against Colby. Although the match began on a shaky note with the Ephs’ first doubles team losing, the team did not surrender another set to the Mules, defeating them 8-1.

The men will face Trinity today at home then will take on Middlebury and Hamilton away over the weekend. With three straight wins, the momentum is definitely on the Ephs’ side. “We certainly feel confident at this point,” Donn said, “but also recognize the difficulty left in the regular season – we have to come out sharp and ready to play, each match is very important at this stage.”

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