Moldenhauer shines at penultimate fall tournament for men’s tennis

Senior co-captain Ross Kamin prepares to return a shot in the men’s tennis home game against Bowdoin at the Voute Tennis Courts on April 28. Ben Kim / The Tufts Daily Archives

Tufts competed at the Wallach Invitational hosted by Bates over the weekend. Facing tough opponents from strong tennis programs in the NESCAC, the team performed well in both singles and doubles events.

Leading the way for the Jumbos was first-year Jack Moldenhauer, who showed his flair in singles. After cruising on Saturday with a couple of two-set wins against Bowdoin first-year Evan Fortier (6–4, 6–2) and Bates first-year Wilder Geier (6–2, 6–2), Moldenhauer went down 6–2 to classmate Damien Ruparel of Amherst in the semifinals but rallied to win the last two sets in dramatic fashion, 6–4, 10–8.

“In the beginning I was kind of playing a little hesitant,” Moldenhauer said. “I was playing a little tight and nervous. In the second set I loosened up, made [Ruparel] hang a little bit deeper and play longer points and hit shots that maybe he wasn’t comfortable with.”

Moldenhauer eventually lost in the Flight C finals on Sunday to Bowdoin sophomore Alan Delman, 6–3, 7–5, but proved himself an equal to tough opponents from strong NESCAC schools. Delman had beaten Jumbo junior co-captain Ethan Bershtein 7–6(4), 6–1 in the quarterfinal.

According to Moldenhauer, Delman possesses a big serve and forehand — his key weapon in important points in their final match-up. Moldenhauer, who said that he excels in longer points and playing far back on the court, proved himself up to the challenge.

“I played a lot of good players from Amherst, Bowdoin and Bates, and all three are very strong teams from NESCAC,” Moldenhauer said. “I competed and played very well against them, fought hard in the final two, played a good player in the final. He won, but it was a great match that was fun to play.”

Other Jumbos that competed in this event included sophomore Carl-Herman Grant, who fell 7-6(3), 6-1 in the Flight B round of 16 against Bowdoin junior Justin Patel. First-year Isaac Gorelik also fell in the same round 6–2, 6–3 against Amherst senior Zach Bessette. Meanwhile in Flight A, juniors Nathan Niemiec and Ben Biswas made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Bowdoin sophomore Justin Wang 6–3, 6–3 and first-year Oscar Yang 7–5, 6–3 respectively. Junior Jason Scanlon and senior co-captain Ross Kamin competed in Flight D.

Three doubles teams also competed in the tournament. Kamin and first-year Paris Pentousis were playing together for the first time. According to Kamin, this was a great opportunity to build rapport with each other, allowing them to find their groove to advance to the Flight B semifinals, defeating teams from Skidmore and Bowdoin along the way. Similarly, the duo of Grant and sophomore Niko Hereford defeated Bates and Skidmore pairs to advance to the semifinals of Flight A doubles.

With only one senior on the Jumbos roster, the tournament at Bates — the team’s second-to-last of the fall season — was helpful in developing team chemistry and working out who works well as doubles partners.

“I think that we improved with our doubles, but we still have a lot of potential,” Moldenhauer said. “We’re going to try to use the last couple weeks of the fall and the whole winter to work on our doubles. We’ll work on our singles too and try to figure out where we are in that category as well.”

This year’s outing to the Wallach Invitational was not quite as successful as last year’s, but Kamin believes that the team still put in good performances throughout.

“Last year at [Wallach Invitational] we had [two] people win divisions,” Kamin said. “This year we didn’t win any and got to one final. So compared to last year the end results weren’t quite as good, but I think everyone competed hard, and that’s really all you can ask for. So it was still really a successful weekend all around.”

Sophomore Boris Sorkin, who won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England Championships singles title on Sep. 30, will be competing at the ITA Cup in Rome, Ga. starting Thursday. The team will wrap up the fall season at the MIT Invitational this weekend. Due to construction at MIT, the tournament will be partly hosted by Tufts.

“It will definitely be nice to be playing closer to home and not having to stay at a hotel,” Kamin said. “Hopefully we’ll get some of our own fans out there maybe. It’ll definitely be a good way to finish out the fall.”