M. tennis trounces BC, Lehigh

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

After not playing serious matches since October, the men’s tennis team expected to be at least a little rusty going into matches against Boston College and Lehigh University on Saturday. Instead, Brown steamrolled its opposition en route to a pair of 7-0 victories.

In its banner day, Brown won every singles match in straight sets and took 17 of 18 matches all together. Co-captain Saurabh Kohli ’08 led the Bears with four wins on the day, and Chris Lee ’09, Kendrick Au ’11, and Charlie Posner ’11 notched three wins apiece.

“We worked hard and had great results,” Head Coach Jay Harris said. “It was important for everyone to get out on the court and be tested for the first time.”

Lee pointed to hard work in the offseason as a key to the team’s success.

“We’ve really progressed over the preseason,” Lee said. “Our first practice when we got back from break was at midnight. Our goal has been to get a lot stronger both physically and on court.”

Lee also said stellar play from young players contributed to the dominant performance

“I think the freshmen did a great job today. I know when I was a freshman I wasn’t really ready for the demanding preseason practices, but these guys have worked hard.”

Against Boston College, Brown opened strong by taking two of three doubles matches to capture the doubles point. But midway through the Bears’ first four singles matches, the team sat deadlocked with the Eagles. Playing on neighboring courts, Lee and Sam Garland ’09 slugged their way to five-games-all in the first set at No. 1 and No. 4 singles, respectively. At the same time, No. 3 singles player Jonathan Pearlman ’11 was tied at 3-all in the second set after taking the first 6-1.

But Brown quickly closed the Eagles’ window of opportunity. Lee and Garland took their first sets with relentless baseline play and claimed early leads in the second set. The juniors never relinquished these advantages and recorded scores of 7-5, 6-3 and 7-5, 6-2, respectively. Meanwhile, Pearlman took the final three games of his match to win 6-1, 6-3 and clinched the victory.

The Bears took the court once again at 3 p.m. to face Lehigh. But unlike the men’s basketball team’s tightly contested victory over Yale, the tennis team’s match versus Lehigh was never in doubt. Brown swept the doubles and no singles set was closer than 6-3. Kohli led the way at No. 1 singles with a 6-3, 6-2 victory and Noah Gardner ’09 won at No. 2 by a score of 6-2, 6-3.

After the long day of play, numerous Brown players sported ice packs. Lee said the wear and tear was a result of the team pushing themselves, but the players should be “back and ready for the Ivy League season,” which starts at the beginning of April.

However, key contributor Nathaniel “Skate” Gorham ’10 has already been lost for the year due to an ACL tear. Harris said that as a result, “there’s pressure on each person to step up a little more.”

On Thursday, the No. 74 Bears will host No. 43 College of William and Mary at 3:30 p.m. in the Pizzitola Center. Brown lost to William and Mary 4-3 last season and has lost to the Tribe in its last three meetings. Consequently, the team will need to continue the form they showed in Saturday’s play.

“Hopefully we’ll be up for the challenge,” Harris said. “It’s exciting to have a team that good here. We’re looking forward to working hard in preparing for them.”

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