Men’s tennis suffers tough set of NESCAC defeats

Men’s tennis took on Tufts and Amherst last weekend in two away matches against NESCAC foes. The men fell to Tufts 6-3 and Amherst 8-1 in two hard-fought meets in the Commonwealth. 

The men played away at Tufts on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Jumbos, coming off a three-match winning streak, did not provide any relief for the Ephs on the court.

The Jumbos took all three doubles matches off the Ephs, each by at least one break of serve. Each Eph team managed to find themselves down a break relatively early in the match, and the Jumbos had a  3-0 cushion going into singles.

The Jumbos needed this cushion in singles as the Ephs came out strong. However, they couldn’t manage to put together enough matches to surmount the three-point deficit.

Eph Brian Grodecki ’18 drew first blood at four-singles with a straight-set victory over Jumbo sophomore Benjamin Battle, 7-5 and 6-2. Co-captain Jose Raventos ’16 joined him a few minutes later, overcoming Jumbo junior Nik Telkedzhiev at the number one spot with an impressive 7-5 first set and a more comfortable 6-3 second set in his exciting match.

Having seen their lead cut to only one point, the remaining Jumbos on the court stepped up to stem the Ephs’ surge.

Junior Rob Jacobson pulled the Jumbos to within one point of the finish line with a relatively straightforward win at six-singles over Eph Jordan Sadowsky ’18, 6-2, 6-4. Mere moments later, it was Jumbo first-year Rohan Gupte who bagged the decisive clinching point for the Jumbos over Eph Rohan Shastri ’17.

Shastri found himself up an early break over Gupte, but Gupte was not about to concede the first set, fighting back to win four of the last five games to take it 6-4. Riding his wave of momentum, he broke Shastri early in the second and never looked back, winning the second set by a 6-3 margin.

The Ephs and Jumbos split the two remaining matches on the court, as Eph co-captain Alex Schidlovsky ’16 dismissed Jumbo freshman Zain Ali at three-singles, before watching his teammate Sachin Raghavan ’18 fall, despite his best efforts, at the number five position in a close 6-4, 7-5 highly-competitive contest with Jumbo junior Rob Jacobson.

On Saturday, the men took on NESCAC archrival Amherst. Despite coming off two wins over Conn. College and Wesleyan, the men unfortunately fell to Amherst, 8-1.

Unlike last year, the Ephs were unable to capture a majority of the doubles matches; indeed, they fell to defeats on all three courts, presenting them with quite the task in singles to overturn the three-point deficit to emerge victorious in the heated contest.

In singles, the Ephs stayed even with several of their collegiate opponents. However, Amherst took a couple of key matches at one- and five-singles, clinching the match before Williams could have dug in.

Jeff senior Sean Rodriguez took the victory from Eph Conrad Harron ’17 to pull the Jeffs to within one point of victory, before junior Andrew Yaraghi pushed the Jeffs over the finish line by beating Raventos, 6-1, 6-1.

The pair of first-year Ephs competing in singles came closest to getting their team on the board. Grodecki found himself locked in a three-set contest with Jeff junior Aaron Revzin, but Revzin had just enough to outlast Grodecki. The super tiebreaker ultimately went 11-9 in favor of the Jeffs despite Grodecki’s strong work.

Raghavan ultimately prevented Williams from leaving Amherst without an individual win, as he raced out to an early break, 3-0, in the first set over Andrew Scheiner and never relinquished it, riding all the way to a  6-3 victory. He exemplified more of the same in the second set, managing to again snag an early lead that he was never going to let go of, taking the second set equally comfortably, 6-2, and giving the Ephs their sole point of the day. 

The men are dissapointed with its recent results but are optimistically looking ahead to the remainder of their season. “Overall, we had a very disappointing weekend,” said Schidlovsky. “We have a match coming up against Trinity on Wednesday and then Bowdoin and Bates this weekend. We’re looking forward to a good week of practice and hopefully a strong end to the regular season.” 

With three NESCAC home matches in the next seven days to wrap up the regular season, the Ephs need three strong performances going into the NESCAC tournament. The first of the three matches is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon competition against Trinity, set to start at 4 p.m. in Hartford, Conn.