Men’s tennis falls to Tufts, Jeffs
The Colby men’s tennis team came into this past weekend riding a two-match winning streak, but was unable to keep its momentum rolling despite a strong effort from first-year Jack Bryant on Saturday against Tufts University to improve his personal record to 10-0 on the season.
Despite the extremely close 5-4 team defeat at the hands of the Jumbos, Coach Doanh Wang was encouraged by his players’ attitude. “Even with the loss, I keep seeing the desire in the guys’ eyes to keep improving. This is special because the easy thing to do is get down and lose the desire, but this group of guys has continued to keep the belief. It really is great to see, and as much as I want to take credit for instilling this, it is the guys’ heart and desire and belief in sustaining their momentum.”
The Mules fought Tufts to a draw in singles play, 3-3. Colby received victories from Bryant at fourth singles and fellow first-years Jason Ottomano at first singles and Sam Bachelder at sixth singles. Unfortunately the 2-1 advantage for the Jumbos in the doubles matches ultimately decided the match in Tufts’ favor. A win in either the hard-fought loss by Ottomano and Luke Martin ’14 at second doubles, or a win by first-year Matt Carroll at third singles, a contest decided in the third set, would have given Colby the win.
On Sunday, the Mules attempted to put the disappointing loss behind them as they took on Amherst College, the fourth-ranked team in the nation. The Lord Jeffs rested some of their top players but still came away with a 9-0 win. Bryant lost his first match in singles of the season. The score, however, does not accurately reflect the match. Colby gained 3-0 leads in both the first and third doubles matches only to be overtaken.
Coach Wang was proud of his team despite the lopsided numbers. “One has to give credit to Amherst, the national runner-up the past two years, they hung in there and figured out a way to grind out the doubles matches. Often in a tennis match, experience is the big difference in determining the outcome. We are having a good season and we are gaining a lot of experience. This will benefit us well in the future.”
Colby, 7-4 on the season and 2-4 in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play, will try to gain traction once again when they play at Hamilton College this weekend before finishing the season at home versus Bowdoin College. Coach Wang was encouraged by the attitude his players showed over the week. “We remain confident but humble, and at the same time, we are hungry for more success. The guys who are competing are playing their hearts out, which is not easy to coach someone to do; rather it is often a personal trait. The guys who are on the sideline are doing a great job supporting their teammates. As a coach, I do not see myself as a cheerleader during the competition, so when I hear someone like Joe Albano ‘12 shouting encouragement to his teammates that can be heard four courts away, I know we have something special in this group of guys.”