Men’s tennis splits NESCAC matches

Rohan Shastri ’17 defeated Luke Tercek 7-6, 6-3 at No. 1 singles in Saturday’s loss to Bowdoin. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

No. 9 men’s tennis  (11–5, 3–3 in the NESCAC) fell to No. 4 Bowdoin on Saturday but rebounded to defeat Colby on Sunday.

In Saturday’s match, the men hosted Bowdoin, but the Polar Bears overcame the Ephs 5-4.

Doubles proved to be a deciding factor in the match, as Bowdoin won two of the three matches. Alex Taylor ’20 and Brian Grodecki ’18 lost their first match of the season against Luke Tercek and Grant Urken, 8-5. Their record together now sits at 14-1. In the next two matches, the Ephs picked up one victory and suffered a loss; Jordan Sadowsky ’18 and Rohan Shastri ’17 won 8-5, while Benjamin Lebowitz ’20 and Sachin Raghavan ’18 fell 8-6 in their match.

To make up the early deficit, Williams had to win four of the remaining six matches in the singles portion of the competition. Despite having multiple three-set matches, the Ephs came up just short by winning only three singles matches.

Shastri defeated Tercek 7-6, 6-3, S. Raghavan edged Kyle Wolfe 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 and Ananth Raghavan ’20 beat Luke Carstens 6-1, 6-0, but the remaining Ephs fell in close matches. Grodecki lost to Urken 6-7, 7-5, 6-2. Deepak Indrakani ’19 could not sustain his first set momentum and fell 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. Taylor was defeated by Gil Roddy 6-4, 6-3. 

“Even though the Bowdoin match didn’t go our way, we competed as well as we have all year,” Head Coach Dan Greenberg ’08 said. “We’re improving at every spot.”

On Sunday, in the second match of the weekend, the men redeemed themselves against Colby. Learning from the day before, they delivered a convincing 7-2 victory.

Taylor and Grodecki returned to form against Vlad Murad and Scott Altmeyer, winning 8-3. Meanwhile, Lebowitz and S. Raghavan took their match 8-5. Williams could not close out the doubles sweep, however, as Sadowsky and Shastri lost 9-7. However, the team still had a one-match advantage  in the dual going into singles, which has proved to be valuable in the past.

On Sunday, however, the Ephs didn’t need it. The team won five of six singles matches, with every victory coming in only two sets. Shastri fell to Vlad Murad 7-6, 6-0, but the rest of the Eph ladder was dominant. Grodecki defeated Scott Altmeyer 6-1, 7-6, and S. Raghavan beat his opponent 6-0, 6-2.

The match was also notable because three first-year players were included in the lineup for the Ephs, and each secured a win. Taylor has been a staple in the lineup since the first match, and A. Raghavan and Lebowitz have had experience in matches before, but the trio had not all started in the same match until the Colby dual. Taylor beat Cam Hillier 6-3, 6-0, A. Raghavan defeated Jeremy Mendoza 6-0, 6-1 and Lebowitz also won in straight sets, overcoming Luis Gonzales 6-1, 6-4. 

“It was a great weekend,” Greenberg said. “The upperclassmen have been strong at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, and the rookies are getting more experienced every week. 

“As for Colby, we came out slow in doubles but eventually hit our stride to get a solid win. We have to get sharper and more consistent in doubles, so we’ll try to work on that this week.”

From May 5-7, the men will compete at the NESCAC Championships, which will be crucial in determining whether the Ephs have a chance to contend for the national championship.

The next two conference matchups, versus Amherst and Trinity, could weigh heavily on the team’s seeding heading in the tournament.

The men will play at Amherst on Saturday, with matches beginning at 1 p.m. They will host Trinity on Sunday at 12 p.m. in their final dual match of the season.