The men’s tennis team beat its competition last weekend, dominating area schools Nazareth College, Hobart College and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The Yellowjackets defeated Nazareth 7-0 on Friday, dominated RIT 7-0 Saturday and won a close 6-1 match against Hobart Sunday.

“We’ve been beating those three schools for a while now,” head coach Chris O’Brien said. “There is usually some decent competition, [but] none of those teams are very nationally or regionally ranked.”

UR opens the season unranked nationally but at No. 12 in the East.

In the next three weeks, the team will travel to Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in search of ranked opponents to prepare for the University Athletic Association and the University Collegiate Athletic Association Championships which take place the final two weeks of April at Case Western Reserve University and Hobart College, respectively.

“In order to get nationally ranked, we’ve got to play nationally ranked teams,” O’Brien said. “And to do that, we’ve got to travel a bit.”

The goals for the team are pretty simple. The men want to build on their NCAA Tournament qualifying season last year and go back again this year. And this time they want to win some matches.

“We’re looking to get to nationals and the end of the year [and] win some while we’re there,” O’Brien said.

The team sports a deep, young but experienced team. At the top of the squad are sophomores Colin Ryan and Dan Williford and freshman transfer Avinash Reddy. Following the top three are seniors Aaron Arfman and Anton Orlin and freshman Nihin Raikar.

Nine others practice and sometimes travel with the team. Ryan and Schoenherr are the co-captains.

“Our strength this year is definitely our depth,”junior Dan Schoenherr said.

Reddy agreed. “Our top two players are really good but we have 9 or 10 guys that can compete,” he said.

O’Brien points out that the effort revolves around a strong team.

“The ranking of seeds doesn’t mean a thing in the long run,” he said. “For example, if the one seed dominates all year long and the six seed loses all year long, they both cancel each other out. A win is a win, plain and simple.”

A typical match includes six singles matches and three doubles matches. The team gets a point for every singles victory and one point for winning two-of-three doubles matches. The spring season is condensed into about seven weeks during the early spring.

The road back to nationals may not be a smooth one.

“We expect to do well this year but it won’t be easy,” O’Brien said. “There is a lot of strong teams in Div. III right now.

The tougher part of the season begins this weekend for the men, as the team travels to Ohio this weekend for three matches against Wooster College, Kenyon College and Denison College. It should be a good weekend of matches for the Yellowjackets against three teams of comparable ability.

“The teams we have played so far have been pretty easy matches,” freshman transfer and third-ranked singles player Avinash Reddy said. “Most of the teams we play now and for the rest of the year should have good depth through out.”

“All the matches should be tight,” O’Brien said. “If we play well, we could win easily. If we don’t play well, we could lose just as easily.” Schonenherr expects to come back successful.

“It is going to be a good weekend,” he said. “We’re expecting to come out at 3-0.”

Hildebrandt can be reached at thildebrandt@campustimes.org.



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