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M. tennis splits weekend doubleheader at home

The men's tennis team recorded one win and one loss in its home doubleheader on Saturday as the Bears fought to compensate for two senior captains' injuries. After narrowly losing a 4-3 match to Binghamton University in the afternoon, the Bears rebounded that evening to sweep the UConn, 7-0.

The Bears were forced to reshuffle their lineup due to the continuing back injury of captain Chris Lee '09. Captain Noah Gardner '09 also suffered an injury during the Binghamton match and could not participate in the UConn match.

"In terms of performance and effort, we played well in both matches," said Kendrick Au '11. "We had to have a few guys step in, and they performed well. It's good that we play strong teams like Binghamton."

Binghamton 4, Brown 3

The Bears started the day by dominating the Bearcats in doubles. At first doubles, Gardner and captain Sam Garland '09 trounced Moshe Levy and Arnav Jain, 8-3. Au and Skate Gorham '10 earned an 8-6 victory over Gilbert Wong and Alexandre Haggai at second doubles, and at third doubles, Jonathan Pearlman '11 and Charlie Posner '11 defeated Evan Algier and Sven Vloedgraven by a score of 8-4.

But Binghamton put up a tougher fight in singles play, edging out Brown in the first four singles matches.

"The guys fought really hard and played at a good level," said Head Coach Jay Harris. "It was just a match that kind of exposed our inexperience, which we need to shore up a little bit, and that's what we're going to do in the coming weeks."

At first singles, Pearlman narrowly lost to Levy, 7-5, 7-6, while on the second singles court Gorham also dropped a close match by a score of 7-6, 7-5 to Vloedgraven. Garland fell to Jain, 6-1, 6-1 at third singles, and Gardner lost a three-set battle to Wong at fourth singles by a score of 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

"The Binghamton match was a great college tennis match, but unfortunately we just came up a little bit short," Harris said. "We got kind of unlucky, really. It was unfortunate that Noah got injured during his match. Skate (Gorham) and Jon (Pearlman) losing their matches really closely were tough ones to lose, too."

Au and Jimmy Crystal '12 also had tight matches at fifth and sixth singles, respectively. Au outlasted Haggai in a third-set super-breaker for a final score of 7-5, 1-6, 1-0 (5).

"I'm starting to become seasoned," Au said. "It's just a matter of playing a lot. I played a super-breaker in the third set, and being in those situations before helped me. After losing the second set, I was able to compose myself."

At sixth singles, Crystal triumphed over Algier, 7-5, 7-5.

"4-3 them, could easily have been 5-2 us," Au said, referring to all of the close singles matches. "We need to take things out of every match, and I think something we need to improve on is winning bigger points."

Brown 7, UConn 0

Brown was on top of its game later in the day against UConn, taking every match played in both doubles and singles.

At first doubles, Au and Posner demolished Joe Goldstein and Ben Schueler, 8-0. Meanwhile, on the second doubles court, Garland and Basu Ratnam '09 - who had been out of the lineup with an injury since the fall season - soundly defeated Andrew Marcus and Scott Warden by a score of 8-4.

"Basu got his first match and win of the season, so that was really cool to see," Harris said. "It was just a great experience, and it was a really cool boost to have him get in there."

Crystal and Pearlman rounded out doubles play with an 8-7 victory at third doubles.

Gorham led the way in singles play against the Huskies, overpowering Goldstein at first singles by a score of 6-4, 6-0. At second singles, Pearlman breezed by Marcus, 6-1, 6-1. Garland earned a 6-2, 7-6 (9) win over Joey Michaels at third singles, and Au took a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Warden at fourth singles.

"I'm fortunate enough to be healthy and able to play all these matches, which gives me extra experience," Au said. "Doubleheaders are always a long day. It's good that everyone has the experience of playing so many doubleheaders because, even though it's a long day, it lengthens our focus. We can play multiple matches with the same intensity."

At fifth singles, Crystal defeated Dave Adams, 6-4, 6-2, while Posner overwhelmed Tom Cook at sixth singles by a score of 6-1, 6-0.

"The UConn match was a great one," Harris said. "Kendrick (Au) and Jimmy (Crystal) played great. They were both undefeated in the two matches. Kendrick was 4-0, and Jimmy was 3-0, so it was great to see Jimmy stepping up as a freshman that way."

The Bears will play Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Pizzitola Center.

"We've had a long few weeks, but we're past the intense part of our schedule, so now we're building up for the Ivies," Au said. "We're a little banged up, so hopefully we can refuel and guys can get completely healthy."

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