February 28, 2010

Men’s Tennis Earns Split in Preparation for Ivy League Stretch Run

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With hopes of kicking off an Ivy League title run, the tennis team (6-3) took the courts this weekend hoping to prove that it could stand tall against the fierce competition of No. 52 Penn State (7-1). In its first match against a ranked opponent this season, the men’s tennis team traveled to University Park, Pa., to take on the Nittany Lions in a true test of whether the Red will be ready to handle Ivy competition in the coming weeks.

The Red fell to Penn State, 6-1, in a match that was far closer than the score suggests. The men’s squad only won two of the nine matches it played; however, the Red was able to force a third and decisive set in two of those losses. Junior Andy Gauthier came out on the winning end in his No. 2 singles match against Ryan Gormley, 6-4, 6-3, and also picked up a victory in the doubles competition alongside partner junior Jeremy Feldman, 8-5.

Junior Jon Jaklitsch lost his No. 1 singles match to Eddie Bourchier, 6-2, 6-4, while junior Mirza Klis and sophomore Evan Bernstein also fell in straight sets. Feldman was able to claim the first set from Jason Lee; however, he was eventually defeated, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2. Senior Jon Fife also started off hot by winning the first set, 6-2, but fell victim to the strong play of Warren Hardie, losing the final two sets, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

“I think if one of those guys closed out their matches then we could have won. We had so many chances to win the game,” Gauthier said.

With the exception of Gauthier’s win, the Red did not fair all too well in doubles. Jaklitsch and Klis fell to Hardie and partner Ryan Gormley, 8-4, while Bernstein and Fife took a loss at the hands of the St-Maurice/Cohen duo by the same score.

In spite of the loss to Penn State, it is important to note that the Red did come away with a 7-0 shutout victory this weekend over George Washington (1-4, 1-0 A10) at the Reis Tennis Center. The Red won all nine of its matches against a struggling G.W. team that is now winless in its last four matches. Jaklitsch, Gauthier and Feldman –– the Red’s top performers all season long –– continued their dominance, with each player earning a straight-set victory over his opponent.

“I think Andy Gauthier is the best tennis player in the Ivy League, but he probably doesn’t think so yet,” Geatz said.

When Gauthier was informed of his coach’s confident words, he acted much like Geatz had predicted.

“I’ll take it I guess. It’s kind of still up in the air, though,” Gauthier said.

Bernstein also earned a straight-set victory over Richard Blumenfeld, 6-1, 6-3, while Fife and Klis both pulled out victories in three-set matches against Ugur Atalay and Arya Vayghan, respectively.

“We were at home and everyone has been playing well there, and we were well-rested and ready to go,” Gauthier said when asked about why the Red faired so well against the Colonials.

Gauthier and Feldman excelled as the top pairing, picking up a win over Atalay and teammate Erik Hannah, 8-6, while Jaklitsch and Klis also did their part in an 8-4 victory over Vayghan and the Colonials’ top player, Chris Kushma. The duo of Fife and Bernstein also squeaked away with a tight victory over the Levenski/Blumenfeld team, 9-8.

“It was a good balanced effort from top to bottom,” Geatz said.

After last weekend’s split, the men’s team will have time to regroup for an important showdown with Ivy foe and nationally-ranked Columbia on Saturday.

Original Author: Evan Rich