Men’s tennis (11-3, 4-2 in the NESCAC) split a slate of weekend conference matches against Bowdoin and Bates. Last Saturday, the Ephs fell to the nationally-ranked Polar Bears by a score of 8-1, but the team rebounded on Sunday with an essential 8-1 win over the Bobcats.
After a turgid showing on Saturday, the squad seemed fully revitalized against the Bobcats, as the side recorded wins on all three doubles courts to put themselves in an advantageous position going into singles.
Co-captain Jose Raventos ’16 and Jordan Sadowsky ’18 led the cause for the purple and gold, sweeping aside Pat Ordway and Fergus Scott at the number two position and racing to an 8-0 scoreline, before their fellow Ephs on courts one and three followed suit with 8-5 and 8-4 margins of victories, respectively.
Riding the wave of their solid doubles performances, the men charged out to a similarly quick lead in singles, as co-captain Alexander Schidlovsky ’16 and Deepak Indrakanti ’19 swiftly saw off their opponents 6-1, 6-4 and 6-4, 6-1 on the way to securing the match. The Ephs were not done yet, however, as Sadowsky added his own point to the board from his spot at the number six position, dispatching Brent Feldman with a pair of 6-2 sets.
Of the three courts remaining, the Bobcats fought back very well on two of them, pushing their Eph counterparts the distance on courts one and two.
Chris Ellis fought back valiantly on court two after losing the first set to Brian Grodecki ’18, 6-4, reversing the first set scoreline in his own favor. However, the opponent failed to fully complete the comeback, as Grodecki outlasted Ellis 10-8 in the super tiebreaker played in lieu of a third set.
Ben Rosen, on the other hand, completed his comeback against Raventos at one-singles after dropping the first set 7-5. Raventos dropped the second set by a 6-3 margin and then fell in the deciding tiebreaker 10-6.
On Saturday, the men took on the top-ranked team in the Northeast region, Bowdoin, falling 8-1 in a match that was closer than the scoreline indicated.
The Polar Bears burst out to a fast 3-0 start, mauling the Ephs in doubles to take a commanding 3-0 lead into the singles portion. The home side took care of business on all three courts as they comfortably dismissed the Eph partnerships by 8-5, 8-4 and 8-5 margins at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 positions respectively.
Going into singles, the Ephs needed an incredible showing to beat the Maine side ranked second nationally. The Polar Bears, however, smothered any chance of an Eph comeback by winning first sets on five of the six courts.
Luke Tercek and Jerry Jiang combined at one- and four-singles to clinch the match for the Polar Bears, as they respectively downed Raventos and Schidlovsky 6-1, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-4.
Despite being down 5-0, the Ephs persevered and fought back, pushing three matches to third sets. However, Rohan Shastri ’17 was the only player to outlast his Polar Bear counterpart, besting Luke Trina 11-9 in a third-set super tiebreaker, and earning the Ephs their lone point of the afternoon. Grodecki and Indrakanti came out on the wrong side of similar situations, losing 10-7 and 11-9 to Kyle Wolfe and Grant Urken respectively.
“Bowdoin played incredibly solid against us and unfortunately we didn’t rise to the challenge,” Head Coach Dan Greenberg ’08 said. “We have to do a better job against the best teams of not giving away opportunities and free points. That said, we turned it around against Bates and played with more energy and conviction, which was really important for us. Now we have to figure out how to make a little jump this week and next week.”
The men return home and have the full week off before they host Amherst in their penultimate regular-season match, scheduled to get started next Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Torrence M. Hunt ’44 Tournament Courts.