Road split sets m. tennis up for homestand

By
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The men’s tennis team faced two foes on the road over the weekend, coming away with a 7-0 loss to No. 32 Virginia Tech on Saturday and a 7-0 win over Georgetown the next day.

Virginia Tech 7, Brown 0

“Going into the Virginia Tech match, we knew we had both a great opportunity and a big challenge ahead of us,” said captain Sam Garland ’09. “We needed to all have great days in order to have a chance of upsetting the 32nd-ranked team currently in the nation. They are deep throughout their lineup and fight hard for every point.”

Unfortunately, the Bears lost an integral member of their lineup with captain Chris Lee ’09 suffering from a back injury.

“We played the whole weekend without Chris,” said Head Coach Jay Harris. “That maybe tripped the guys up a little bit the first day. It took a while to adjust to that. We competed pretty well, but we missed having Chris out there.”

The Bears dropped all of the doubles matches to give the Hokies a 1-0 lead. First doubles team Noah Gardner ’09 and Garland fell by a score of 8-4, and at second doubles, Skate Gorham ’10 and Jonathan Pearlman ’11 lost 8-5. Kendrick Au ’11 and Charlie Posner ’11 dropped an 8-2 match at third doubles.

“In the doubles, all of our teams were caught off guard by (the Hokies’) conservative style and ability to play great defense in order to lob or pass us at net,” Garland said. “Not having our top doubles lineup is never easy either, and with Chris Lee out, we had to mix up our No. 2 and 3 teams with new pairings.”

The Bears lost four of the singles matches in straight sets. Au and Jimmy Crystal ’12 dropped their respective matches at fifth and sixth singles by scores of 6-2, 6-2 and 6-3, 6-3. At third singles, Garland fell to Pedro Graber, 6-1, 6-4, while at fourth singles, Gardner lost to Luka Somen by a score of 6-4, 6-3.

“The Virginia Tech players played big during the points that matter the most,” Garland said.

At first and second singles, respectively, Pearlman and Gorham pushed their opponents to third sets. After losing the first set, Pearlman rebounded to claim the second set, but dropped the third set super-breaker for a final score of 7-5, 5-7, 1-0 (9).

Meanwhile, Gorham battled back at second singles after also dropping the first set, but like his teammate, Gorham lost the super-breaker for a score of 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (5).

“Even though we lost to Virginia Tech, we had a lot of chances,” Crystal said. “It showed us that we could compete with teams at that level.”

Brown 7, Georgetown 0

Against Georgetown on Sunday, the Bears jumped out to a 1-0 lead after clinching the doubles point.

“Right from the start against Georgetown, we had more energy and were more confident,” Crystal said.

At first doubles, Gardner and Garland trounced Michael Clarke and David Tillem, 8-2. Gorham and Pearlman dropped the second doubles match, but Au and Crystal earned an 8-5 victory at third doubles.

“It came down to Kendrick and Jimmy,” Harris said. “It was one of the first times they ever played together, but those guys really came through.”

The Bears went on to sweep all six singles matches.

“I think (the doubles matches) deflated Georgetown’s confidence a ton going into the singles matches, where we dominated throughout,” Garland said.

Pearlman defeated Tillem by a score of 6-3, 6-3 at first singles. At second singles, Gorham triumphed over Andrew Bruhn, 6-4, 6-2.

“We won the singles matches really convincingly,” Harris said. “All the guys played exceptionally well.”

Garland, Au and Crystal all took straight-set wins at fourth, fifth and sixth singles, respectively. Garland had a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Adam Gross, and Au defeated Kenneth Wong by a score of 6-0, 6-4. Meanwhile, Crystal overpowered Rafael Notario, 6-1, 6-3.

“Going into the Georgetown match, we wanted to work harder than our opponents on all the big points, so we stressed consistency and discipline in all the singles matches,” Garland said.

At third singles, Gardner took the first set, 6-1, and was ahead 3-1 in the second set when his opponent retired.

“We learned a lot from the Virginia Tech match in terms of what a good team does, and we were able to use some of that against Georgetown,” Harris said.

Next on the Bears’ schedule is a doubleheader at home on Saturday. Brown will take on Binghamton at 12 p.m. and UConn at 5 p.m.

“Binghamton is going to be a huge match,” Harris said. “They’re really hot coming in. It’s probably the best team that they’ve had.”

Garland said the Bears are “hoping to have Chris Lee injury-free by then. Binghamton always fights hard as a team, and we’ll need our best to beat them.”