In a busy past week, the men’s tennis team defeated Brandeis, Babson and NESCAC foe Trinity in a series of hard-fought wins before losing to Williams on Sunday. The results improve the team’s record to 11-5 overall and 4-3 in NESCAC play, with just three matches, including two conference matches, left in the regular season. Tufts is tied for fourth in the NESCAC with Wesleyan and in a playoff spot, but the team hopes to win against a beatable Bates squad this Friday and earn the upset over second-ranked Bowdoin (4-1 in NESCAC) next week to improve its postseason seed.
Tufts faced off against Brandeis at home on Wednesday, winning a tight contest 5-4. Brandeis started off as the better side, winning two of the three doubles matches, but Tufts came roaring back to win four of the six singles matches and earn the win.
In third doubles, Tufts’ sophomore Zain Ali and senior tri-captain Rob Jacobson took down sophomore Eric Goldberg and junior co-captain Brian Granoff 8-3. Ali then defeated junior Michael Arguello in third singles 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and Jacobson beat first-year Tyler Ng in fourth singles 6-1, 7-6 (3).
Tufts’ senior tri-captain Nick Cary won a particularly close match against Brandeis’ senior co-captain Danny Lubarsky, winning 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 from the number five singles spot.
Tufts continued their winning ways at Babson, winning a close meet 5-4 on Saturday. The Jumbos got off to a good start, winning two of the three doubles matches before managing to pull off three wins out of six in the singles matches to seal the meet. First-year Ethan Chen had a sensational match, coming back after dropping the first set to dominate his opponent 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 in the No. 5 spot.
Captains Jacobson and Cary teamed up to play third doubles and defeated the Babson pair of junior Dom Wysolmerski and sophomore Ben Roque 8-2, but Jacobson fell in first singles to senior Roberto Perez.
Cary was proud of how the team stayed focused in and continued to battle throughout tight matches after the two consecutive 5-4 victories.
“For sure, we’ve grown match after match, and being more mentally strong is a part of that,” he said. “It’s now the younger guys on the team who are stepping up in tough moments and getting the wins, which is awesome to see for both short-term and long-term progress.”
Returning home to Tufts immediately after the Babson match, the team battled to an 8-1 victory over Trinity later on Saturday.The Jumbos managed to win every single match except for No. 1 doubles. Sophomore Zain Ali had a particularly intriguing match, winning 5-7, 6-4, 10-7 in a back-and-forth affair in the first position.
Senior Jay Glickman — who won his singles match against senior tri-captain Ford Traff 6-0, 6-4 — teamed up with Ali to get the better of senior tri-captain Camden Smith and peer Carlos Ferreyros 8-3.
Cary commented on the grind of having two meets in one day.
“We’re such a deep team that even with such a concentrated stretch of matches, we are always confident we can pull off a win. Pretty much everyone on the roster contributed to a win, which was awesome to see on such a long day of competing.”
First-year Ross Kamin attributes the team’s success to learning from the individual losses and not letting them affect the team’s morale.
“All of our losses have been really close so we came out of those pretty positively, and we went into the other matches confident about where we were at as a team,” he said.
After a long Saturday, Tufts headed out to Williams on Sunday and struggled against the hosts in what has historically been an evenly contested matchup between the two programs. This weekend, though, the Jumbos, perhaps fatigued after the doubleheader the previous day, left with a 7-2 loss. The match saw the Jumbos get off to a slow start, as they were swept in the three doubles matches and then only managed to pull off two wins out of the six singles matches. Sophomore Danny Coran had a strong match though, winning 6-1, 6-3 from the No. 6 spot. Ali also managed a tough win against junior Rohan Shastri 7-5, 7-5. Despite teaming up, first and second singles players Glickman and Ali could not stand up against senior co-captain Jose Raventos and sophomore Jordan Sadowski in second doubles, falling 8-5.
Despite the loss to Williams, Tufts had a strong week overall, getting the results they needed as the season winds down. Cary believes the wins were critical to staying competitive at the top of the conference.
“We knew after [losing to] Middlebury and Wesleyan that every match going forward was going to be more crucial if we want momentum going to the postseason and maybe a chance to get a higher seed,” Cary said.
With the latest victories Tufts now has 11 victories on the season, the most the team has had since 2011. Cary commented on why the team has had so much success this season.
“I think it’s a combination of the new talent we have as well as a changing work ethic. Compared to top ranked teams who might be better on paper, we know from experience that even though they may have a slight edge in talent, we can still out-work them and it more than often shows in the results.”
The team now prepares to head to Bates this Friday for its penultimate NESCAC match of the regular season, one which the team should win and which could allow them to break the tie with Wesleyan for sole possession of the fourth seed.