Tennis Seasons Come to Eventful Ends

It was a very long weekend for Colgate’s tennis teams, and while the women have clinched a spot in the Patriot League Tournament, the men’s team was eliminated from Patriot League contention.

After having their match against Lafayette postponed due to inclement weather, the men and women had to play three matches in three days against Patriot League opponents Lafayette, Bucknell and American.

The men were well aware that heading into last weekend, they would most likely need to win all three matches in order to qualify for the Patriot League Tournament.

The weekend started off very well for the men as they took care of Lafayette by a convincing 4-0 score. The match was shortened so that the women’s teams could play, and the men’s quick and convincing victory conserved some energy for the rest of the weekend.

The next day, the men squared off against the Bucknell Bison and came out with a great 6-1 victory to raise their Patriot League record to 3-2. The men had been playing great tennis, but on Sunday their biggest challenge awaited as they faced American.

Last season, American defeated the Raiders twice, 5-2 in the regular season and 4-0 in the Patriot League Tournament. The men knew they needed this win to qualify this season and they hoped that they could reverse the results of last year.

The men got off to a great start by taking the doubles point, as junior Marshall Wheeler and sophomore Mickey Gallagher played one of their best doubles’ matches of the season against a very tough American first doubles tandem. Sophomore Tyler Deck and first-year Martin MacIntyre gave the Raiders the point with a win at second doubles.

Despite the early confidence boost, however, fortune was not on the men’s side, as American asserted itself in singles play and won all six singles matches. MacIntyre and Gallagher took their opponents to three sets, but that was not nearly enough for the Raiders.

Head coach Patrick Fisher was proud of the way his athletes performed in such a short period of time.

“It was a very long weekend as we had three matches in three days,” he said. “I felt the men had a very good weekend and we came very close at the end. We got off to a great start by convincingly beating both Lafayette and Bucknell. We also had a great start against American, but we were unable to get the results we wanted in singles. I feel having all those matches bunched up hurt us, but I felt the guys played very well given the tough situation.”

The Raiders finished the season with a league record of 3-3 and an overall mark of 6-12. Due to the loss to American, Colgate needed Lehigh to lose its final regular season match to Bucknell, which took place yesterday afternoon. After Lehigh’s victory, both teams had identical 3-3 league marks, but Lehigh held the tiebreaker due to its 6-1 win over Colgate earlier in the season.

While the men prayed for help to make the postseason and didn’t get it, the Raider women barely qualified for the Patriot League after a tough end to a hectic final weekend.

The women started the weekend with a tough 4-3 victory at Lafayette. It was a very exciting match, as the women grabbed the doubles point and then won three of six singles matches.

The next morning, the ladies had to play at Bucknell. The long travel, combined with the loss of senior Lil Vo due to a season-ending injury, really hurt the team as the Raiders lost, 6-1. Junior Jackie Couture, playing at first singles, garnered Colgate’s lone win, 7-5, 0-6, 10-4. The women had to forget about the loss, however, as they traveled to American for their final match of the weekend the following day.

The women lost to American, 4-3, but they played very well across the board. The ladies were able to win the doubles point, and junior Lindsay Grossman and sophomore Lauren Levy registered singles victories, but Colgate could not get the elusive fourth point. Despite the loss, however, the win over Lafayette was enough to lift the Raiders into the postseason tournament.

Fisher was cognizant of the adversity the ladies had to overcome, and looks forward to resting the team before the postseason begins this weekend.

“I am really happy that we qualified, but it is clear that injuries and travel really hurt us this weekend,” Fisher said. “If we had our full lineup, I definitely feel we could have beaten Bucknell and American. However, those things happen and now we have to look forward to playing Army. Army beat us earlier in the season, but we now have nothing to lose. They are the favorite and I hope that we can play some good tennis and pull off the upset.”

The women finished their regular season with a 9-8 overall record and a 2-3 record in the Patriot League. The Raiders are the fourth seed in this weekend’s Patriot League tournament and they hope that they can bring their best tennis when it matters most. The team plays the Black Knights in one semifinal tomorrow morning, with the championship game scheduled for Sunday afternoon.