Men's tennis goes 4-0 in N.Y.
While most of us were at home enjoying a well-deserved rest, the Colby men’s tennis team was traveling around upstate New York during a four-match swing. The team started the weekend by defeating Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and finished with a victory over Ithaca College, winning all of their matches.
Coach Doanh Wang was happy for his team: “We had a good weekend. The guys should be proud of their accomplishment; I am certainly proud of them.”
Against RPI, Jack Bryant ’14 and Matt Carroll ’14 won 8-6 in the first doubles contest, leading the Colby sweep of doubles also featuring victories by Tommy Kimball ’12 and Jason Ottomano ’14 at second and Rob Yee ’12 and Sam Bachelder ’14 at third. Coach Wang was impressed with the play of his first doubles pairing: “Carroll and Bryant had a couple of solid wins over RPI and Hobart. The RPI duo made it to the quarterfinals of their ITA regional, and the Hobart team was ranked above Carroll/Bryant in last year’s final ranking in doubles.” Colby dominated in singles as well, with Bryant, Bachelder, Than Moore ’12 and Max Pollinger ’14 all winning their matches in straight sets. The final score was 7-2 for the Mules, which they followed up with a 5-2 victory over Oneonta State later that day.
In the third match of the weekend, Colby faced off against Hobart College and narrowly defeated a very solid team, 5-4. Kimball was a key player once again as he battled back to win at second singles. Coach Wang praised Kimball’s play and hard work: “Kimball showed a lot of heart battling through his matches. He was far from being physically healthy due to an injury, but his fight came through big for us in a couple of key matches.” Colby took two of the three doubles matches, winning at first and third, and split the singles matches down the middle with Hobart, three apiece.
The Mules finished off the weekend by handily beating Ithaca College 7-2 in their final match of the fall. Colby swept the singles matches as Carroll, Kimball, Ottomano, Bryant, Bachelder and Moore all won easily. Coach Wang knew going into the weekend that the team was facing four quality opponents, and this was a serious gut-check stretch for the group. Wang said, “I felt we needed that experience because [we] have to be able to step up and play a lot of tennis over a stretch of a few days. It was very important for us to come out of this weekend 4-0 because we had to protect our regional ranking. Every team we played came out gunning for us. We did a good job matching their intensity….If we didn’t do that, it could have been very realistic that we came out of that weekend 2-2 or even 1-3.”
Those were the last matches of the fall for the tennis team, and they will look to build on their success in the spring when they return to action.
Coach Wang emphasized the difficulty of playing tough opponents and was pleased with the team’s response: “I think we have a solid team, but I also know we have to keep wanting to get better. Every team outside the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) wants to take us down, and every matchup in the NESCAC is even fiercer. But at the same time, I feel that winning without our character being tested makes us worse. Fall Break weekend was a good spring board into the off-season.”