The men's tennis team demolished Bryant University at home on Tuesday, breezing by the Bulldogs, 7-0. The match marked the first time this season that the Bears have competed outdoors on the varsity courts.
"We just started practicing outdoors on Sunday, and right now we are adjusting to all the additional factors we have to deal with, such as the wind, sun and different court speed," said captain Chris Lee '09. "So far, we are doing well, not getting frustrated because obviously it's going to take a few days to get used to outdoor tennis again. Personally, I love getting outdoors because it really lets me introduce a lot more variety to my game."
The Bears bounded ahead to a 1-0 lead with wins at all three doubles slots.
"The team came out very strong in the doubles matches," said Jonathan Pearlman '11. "It was great to be outdoors for the first time in 60-degree weather, and I think everyone's enjoyment of the day translated into their play."
At first doubles, Lee and Charlie Posner '11 overpowered Nicholai Hill and Dylan Whiting by a score of 8-3. Skate Gorham '10 and Pearlman notched an 8-4 victory over Thomas Nowak and Kevin Gardiner at second doubles, and Jimmy Crystal '12 and Noah Gardner '09 took an 8-5 win over Jose Rodriguez and Zehn Laliwala at third doubles.
But the Bears remained hungry after the doubles sweep and picked up their level of performance even more in singles play.
"All the guys stepped it up a notch in the singles matches," Lee said. "After our meeting before the singles began, we really turned our focus up a notch."
Lee led the way at first singles, soundly defeating Cristian Balestrieri, 6-0, 6-3.
"My back is feeling a lot better," Lee said. "I've really worked hard to get healthy because this is our final stretch, and I want to be part of this excitement. Sitting out sophomore year during the Ivies crushed me, and I promised myself that I would work hard to be able to play during our Ivy season, just like I did last year."
At second singles, Pearlman trounced Jose Rodriguez by a score of 6-1, 6-1.
"I just returned from a professional tournament in Canada, where I beat one of the top ten national recruits for next year, who is going to Stanford," Pearlman said. "I have been playing a very high level of tennis and am looking forward to some good results over spring break."
Gorham overwhelmed Gardiner at third singles in a 6-2, 6-2 victory. Gardner and Posner also recorded straight-set wins at fourth and fifth singles, respectively, defeating Nowak and Hill by scores of 6-3, 6-4 and 6-4, 6-4. Crystal rounded out the Bears' dominating performance with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Laliwala at sixth singles.
"The team did an excellent job of motivating each other to play a high level of tennis," Pearlman said. "This is our second time playing Bryant University this year. We have had experience with their team and had an idea of the level we would need to compete at coming in. This allowed us to relax, which translated into a great effort."
Over spring break, the Bears will compete against two tough foes at home - facing off against the University of Portland on Saturday and Wake Forest University on Sunday - before heading to Florida to play Florida Atlantic University the following Thursday and New Mexico State University the following Saturday.
"In preparation for our spring break matches, we are really working on getting our entire lineup healthy," Lee said, adding that the Bears are "trying to adjust our games to playing outdoors again, and that means being more patient and waiting an extra ball or two for opportunities to attack and come in to the net."