Raider Men’s Tennis Takes It To Lehigh



After a week of Spring Break matches in Florida and a hard week of practices, the men’s and women’s tennis teams are ready to enter the heart of their Patriot League schedules against some high quality opponents.Both the men and women won their first Patriot League match, easily dispatching of Lafayette. It was a great start for both teams in league play, but now the Raider squads face the toughest parts of their Patriot League schedules.While the women were off this week, the men squared off against their second Patriot League foe, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.Lehigh had yet to play a Patriot League match, but they came in regarded as one of the top five Patriot League teams. Before the match the men were fired up and were determined to get to 2-0 in the Patriot League.The Raiders came out firing on all cylinders, as they showed some inspired doubles play to sweep all three spots. Head coach Patrick Fisher regarded the performance as, “The best doubles that we have played all year.” Fisher talked of how the team worked on doubles all week and that he was happy with the hard work paying off.With a 1-0 lead going into singles play, senior co-captains Reed Hagmann and Pete Oman got the team ready for action and made sure that everyone gave everything they had on the court. The Raiders surely heeded the words of their captains, as each player came out ready to win.Hagmann throttled his Lehigh counterpart at first singles, 6-3, 6-2, by blasting numerous forehand winners. Hagmann never gave his opponent a chance to come back and gave the Raiders an emphatic second point. The win put Hagmann two wins away from tying the school record for most singles victories. Hagmann has made breaking that record one of his top goals this year and he is on pace to do just that.At second singles, junior Jake Heims played as well as he could, winning the first set and staying on serve in the second before lethal cramps kicked in. The cramps severely hindered Heims for the remainder of the match and he was unable to rebound, falling by a score of 6-2, 3-6, 2-6.Sophomore Chris Innes battled hard at third singles, but he would fall in straight sets, 4-6, 3-6. With the score tied at two, the Raiders looked for some big performances from the bottom of their lineup.The team got a huge win from first-year standout Mickey Gallagher, who played a fantastic match at fourth singles. After splitting the first two sets, Gallagher easily won the third set, 6-1, and let out an enormous “Come on!” that fired up the entire Raiders team.Oman then clinched the win for the Raiders, winning in two hard-fought sets, 6-4, 6-4. He played a great match and gave a big fist pump as he clinched the match for the Raiders. First-year Tyler Deck lost at sixth singles in a super tiebreaker, but the Raiders had already clinched their second Patriot League victory.Fisher was extremely happy with the win: “I thought everyone in general played well in singles after playing great in doubles. Mickey played very well and Oman played a smart match. Reed had a typical performance at first and I feel that we could have won at every spot. It was a great win and I hope we can use this momentum in the upcoming weeks.”The win gave the Raiders a 7-14 overall record, but more importantly a 2-0 record in the Patriot League – this despite not yet fielding a full roster. “We are not completely healthy yet, but we are getting there,” Fisher said. “[Sophomore] Marshall Wheeler is almost back to full strength and Heims’ wrist is still healing. Once we get them back to full strength, we will have an even stronger lineup going out there.”The Raiders next face off with nationally-ranked Army on Sunday. Army was picked to finish first in the Patriot League preseason poll, but the Raiders are hoping to pull off an upset.The Raider women are also in action this weekend as they face Lehigh. They come in with a 7-6 overall record and a 1-0 record in the Patriot League. “Lehigh is a solid team,” Fisher said. “We have been picked to finish fifth or sixth in the Patriot League and I feel this match is a chance for the ladies to prove everyone wrong and show that we are a good team. We will be missing our number one singles, [senior] Marissa Alikpala, but I definitely think we can still win. The girls are a very resilient group and that is our strength. If we can fight for every point, I think we will come out on top this weekend.”Fisher feels very strongly about both Raider squads this year and he feels that the teams are getting less credit than they deserve. The women want to show that they are one of the top teams in the Patriot League, while the men also feel that their record is not indicative of the team’s ability and will look to improve as the team gets healthier.