Advantage-Out For Tennis Teams

John Kelly

This past weekend the men’s and women’s tennis teams hit the road in preparation for the upcoming Patriot League Season. The men’s team headed to Providence, Rhode Island to compete against the nationally ranked Brown University Bears. The Raiders had trouble keeping up with the 2006 Ivy League Champions and fell by a score of 6-1. On the day the team was led by the stellar play of first-year Michael Yassky who recorded a convincing 6-3, 7-6 victory over Joe Scott in the sixth singles spot. The dynamic duo of junior Tyler Deck and first-year John Nogueras secured a victory at the third doubles spot with a hard-fought 8-7 win over Brown’s Eric Thomas and Noah Gardner.

Coach Bobby Pennington remained upbeat about the Brown beating. “I thought we played Brown pretty tough. Our guys, especially Michael Yassky, did an excellent job of adjusting to the hostile environment. Brown had tons of fan support and the team handled all of the heckling and kept their composure throughout the match.”

The following day, the Raiders hit the courts against Stony Brook University. As the 2006 America East Champions and with a team composed predominantly of international players, the Raiders knew Stony Brook posed quite a challenge. The men’s team battled before falling by a score of 4-3, despite opening the match by securing the lone doubles point. The senior tandem of Marshall Wheeler and Chris Innes secured a 9-7 victory at first doubles, while the duo of Deck and Nogueras cruised to a convincing 8-2 victory at third doubles. On the singles side, Wheeler battled through cramps to secure a hard-fought 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory. Nogueras continued his strong weekend play by winning his fifth singles match 7-5, 6-3; unfortunately, these performances were not enough, as the Seawolves captured victories at the first, second, fourth, and sixth singles spots to win the match.

“Although losing is always tough this match particularly hurts because we were so close. We were literally inches from securing a 4-3 victory and had things gone a little differently we could have won 6-1. Throughout this weekend our guys showed a ton of positive emotion and played at a much higher level. It’s only a matter of time before we start getting some wins,” said Coach Pennington.

On Saturday February 10, the women’s team took their undefeated record to Binghamton to face a tough Bearcats squad, but Binghamton proved too much to handle, topping the Raiders 5-2. Once again the Raiders relied upon the play of first-year Elise Derose, who defeated Juliana Umeki 6-4, 7-5 to continue her unbeaten streak at second singles and to push her record to 3-0. Sophomore Cameron Thaney also provided a lift with her victory at sixth singles against Gayathri Balasundar. After losing the first set 1-6, Thaney rallied back to take the second set 6-4 before closing out the match with a 10-6 superset victory.

Even with the loss the team remains optimistic.

“The team is practicing hard every day to get ready for Patriot League play and all of our other matches this season as well. We are a much deeper team than last year and we look to significantly improve our record,” Derose said.

Colgate continues the pursuit of this goal when they host Niagara on Saturday, Feb. 17, and Hofstra on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Sanford Fieldhouse. The men’s team host Hofstra on Saturday at 2 p.m., and Niagara on Sunday at 10 a.m.