Sporting pink, men’s tennis wins for cause

By
Sunday, February 8, 2009

With a 6-1 victory over Marist College on Friday, the men’s tennis team also made strides against breast cancer.

The match represented a special opportunity for Kendrick Au ’11, a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which hosted Brown’s Second Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Week.

“My mom passed away from breast cancer when I was really young, so breast cancer awareness is a personal stronghold to me,” Au said. “I wanted the team to get involved not just for the personal meaning it had for me, but I wanted the guys to know we’re so fortunate to be here and there’s more to life than wins

and losses.”

The Bears wore pink wristbands and used pink grips on their racquets to show their support for the cause. The Bears also sold raffle tickets to fans during the match, with the proceeds going to the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation.

“It’s one of the coolest things we’ve done since I’ve been here at Brown,” said Head Coach Jay Harris. “It was a great thing for us to be involved in.”

During the victory, the Bears also received their rings for winning the 2006 Ivy League

Championship.

“It motivated the younger guys to see the older guys getting our rings,” Lee said. “It was a complete surprise to all of us. It was really cool.”

The Bears started strong, nabbing the doubles point by winning all three doubles match-ups. At first doubles, captains Sam Garland ’09 and Noah Gardner ’09 overpowered Christian Coley and Rhys Hobbs, 8-4. Captain Chris Lee ’09 and Jonathan Pearlman ’11 defeated Loic Sessagesimi and Matt Himmelsbach, 8-6, at second doubles, and Au and Skate Gorham ’10 had an 8-5 victory over Landon Greene and Nicolas Pisecky at third doubles.

In singles play, Pearlman breezed by Coley at first singles by a score of 6-2, 6-3. Meanwhile, his teammates at second, third and fourth singles found themselves in three-set matches, all of which they ultimately won.

Lee outlasted Sessagesimi at second singles by a score of 6-2, 6-7, 6-4.

“I thought I played pretty well throughout the match,” Lee said. “I haven’t played a lot,” he said, since pulling a quad muscle in September, “so I’m proud of

myself.”

At third singles, Gorham swapped tiebreakers with Pisecky before trouncing him in the third set for a final score of 7-6, 6-7, 6-2.

Meanwhile, at fourth singles, Garland battled back from near-defeat for a 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory over Marcus von Nordheim.

Lee said he was impressed that Garland was able to come back from behind. At 6-2, 5-4, he had been two points away from losing the match.

According to Harris, once Garland was able to break his opponent’s serve in that game, he played perfectly for the rest of the match.

“The maturity he showed was something I was really proud of,” Harris said.

At fifth singles, Au defeated Greene by a score of 6-3, 6-3, a result Au said “doesn’t reflect how tough the match was.”

Au’s win secured the team’s fourth point, putting the victory beyond doubt. “It was fitting Kendrick was the one to clinch the match,” Harris said. “It was a very efficient match.”

Charlie Posner ’11 dropped a 6-3, 7-5 match to Himmelsbach at sixth singles to bring the final team score to 6-1.

The Bears compared the difficulties they faced against the Red Foxes – with so many match-ups going to three sets – to their loss to Boston College three weeks ago, and said that they were proud they were able to prevail this time.

“It was similar to the BC match because we had to deal with a lot of challenges,” Au said. “In the case of the BC match, we didn’t respond that well. But we’ve gotten tougher, and we were able to tough out these matches.”

“Marist is a little better than BC and a little tougher,” Harris agreed. “Marist didn’t go away (after the doubles point), and we didn’t expect them to. We had to really work hard and fight hard to put them away.”

The Bears are now preparing for the ECAC Championships, which will be hosted by Harvard. Brown will face Yale in the first round on Saturday.

“This is the first-ever ECAC tournament held in February,” Harris said. “It’s going to be a very intense tournament this time of year. The guys are really excited about it.”

According to Au, the Bears’ victory over Marist bodes well for the future.

“We’ve come a long way, and I hope this win and what it represented will fuel the fire,”

Au said.