The men’s tennis team split a pair of close matches against tough squads on the road in its final tuneup before the UAA Championships.

The Yellowjackets defeated the College of New Jersey 5-2 on Saturday and lost to Swarthmore College 4-3 on Sunday.

UR had hoped to win both meets, but taking one of two was a significant achievement.

“I don’t think we’d ever beaten either of those teams and we beat the College of New Jersey and should have beaten Swarthmore,” sophomore Dan Williford said. “This weekend is the biggest of our season with the UAAs, so this gives us good momentum going into that.”

Williford defeated Robert Howland, a former All-American who was ranked as high as No. 5 in the country, 7-6 (5). 6-4 at second singles. Williford also teamed with sophomore Colin Ryan to win 9-8 (5) at first doubles and help UR take the doubles point.

Ryan lost 2-6. 6-4. 7-6 (8) to Marc Hill at first singles against TCNJ, but rebounded with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Swarthmore. Unfortunately, UR was not able to pull out the doubles point against Swarthmore and the singles were unable to make up the lost ground.

“I thought the team played very well against TCNJ. We dominated at almost every position,” sophomore Colin Ryan said. “Swarthmore was a different story. It hurt us a little losing the doubles point right away, but I think that we still could have won the match.”

The Yellow-jackets also missed fifth-singles player Aaron Arfman, a senior, due to injury.

“He’s a great asset to our team and I think the match would have gone our way if he was able to play,” Ryan said.

UR will compete in the UAA Championships at Case Western Reserve University from Friday through Sunday, April 19-21.

“We’re expecting to do well,” Williford said. “We should be seeded No. 3 and I think we have a good shot at upending the top two seeds [Emory University and Washington University].”

Jacobs can be reached at bjacobs@campustimes.org.



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