The men’s tennis team split their road trip to Boston this weekend, giving them an overall record of 15-2 for the season. On Saturday, the Yellowjackets played a very close match against Bates College.

UR lost the doubles point, although two of the three doubles matches were extremely competitive. In order to get the doubles point, a team must win the majority of the three doubles matches.

Freshmen Eric Hansen and Thanos Kantarelis lost in the tiebreaker of their first doubles match. UR’s No. 2 team of senior Avinash Reddy and junior Eric Prince lost also 8-6.

The No. 3 doubles team of senior Brian Shenker and sophomore Mike Lee lost their match 8-4.

Having lost the doubles point, the team needed to win four of the six singles points in order to pull out a victory. At No. 3 singles, junior Josh Bruce-Black lost 6-4, 6-0.

“I was disappointed with my performance in singles against Bates,” Bruce-Black said. “I thought that I was better than my opponent. However, I felt uncomfortable on the court and ended up losing.”

At No. 2 singles, Hansen won a tough three-setter over Bates’ Blake Wayman, and UR’s No. 5, junior Eric Prince, defeated Bates’ Sam Duval in straight sets.

At No. 1 singles, Reddy lost 6-3, 7-6 to Will Boe-Wiegard of Bates, and at No. 4 singles, Kantarelis lost a tight match 7-5, 7-6.

With these wins, Bates had the four points necessary to win the match, despite the fact that Mike Lee was up a set in his No. 6 singles match.

“Bates is a very tough team,” Head Coach Anna Khvalina said. “We competed well. It was an important test for us and the guys showed they are ready to step up. Eric Prince has raised his level from previous weeks and won three of his four matches on the weekend. Eric Hansen is a very tough competitor anytime he steps on a court.”

Despite losing to Bates, the players feel that they demonstrated a strong effort.

“I was really pleased and impressed by the heart shown by our team,” Bruce-Black said. “We were down 3-0 against Bates at one point, but no one gave up and we almost came back and won the match.”

The Yellowjackets beat Brandeis University on Sunday, winning all three doubles matches and the third, fourth and fifth singles matches.

At No. 3 singles, Bruce-Black won 6-3, 6-1, at the No. 4 position, Kantarelis won 6-3, 6-3 and at No. 5 singles, Prince won 6-2, 6-4. Reddy and Hansen lost tough matches playing at the No.1 and No. 2 positions, respectively.

“Brandeis is a solid team and they were as tough at home as they will be as hosts of the UAAs, but we can find strength in our depth,” Khvalina said. “We needed to beat them to keep working on our goals.”

Khvalina and her players know that performing well in doubles is of great importance in the weeks ahead, because earning the doubles point often proves to be crucial in winning a match.

“I think the most important thing we need to work on is our doubles play,” Bruce-Black said. “Against good teams, it is critical to win the doubles point and we failed to do that against Bates.”

If UR had beaten Bates, the team would have been guaranteed a spot at Nationals. Although their team’s future is uncertain, the players believe that they have a good shot at making Nationals and their record certainly supports the run.

“Hopefully, we can carry the momentum of this weekend into our preparation for UAAs,” Hansen said. “Everyone on the team believes we have a great chance to make nationals if we can get it done at UAAs.”

Ogorek can be reached at aogorek@campustimes.org.



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