One Team on a Revenge Tour

Liv Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer

Look out, Colgate tennis is on a revenge tour this season. Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams are hungrily working towards winning records in their regular seasons. 

“We always joke about this being our revenge tour, revenge season. We like to say that we’re getting revenge on everyone who’s wronged us in the past, whether it be teams or situations like COVID,” senior captain Elizabeth Laub said.

The men’s team has a record of 7-8 and is going into a competitive home court advantage weekend, facing Monmouth University and the U.S. Naval Academy (Navy) in their last two regular season matches.

“What we need to work on is everybody playing well on the same day. We have certain guys who show up and certain guys who don’t show up. It’s different guys, different days,” head coach Bobby Pennington said.

Senior men’s team captain Nick Potter said that his team is gearing up for the Patriot League Tournament and is ferociously seeking revenge on rival teams such as Bucknell University and Lehigh University. The squad is trying to channel their team’s “LSTW” motto, which stands for logistics, swag, tradition and winning.

“The main goal for the team will obviously be a deep run at the tournament and making the finals,” Potter said. 

The women’s team holds a winning record of 9-7 and will be facing Monmouth in their final regular season match of the season this coming weekend at Colgate. 

“We have outstanding records at one, two and three singles so far. So the front of the lineups are really producing. You know, the back half is also playing better right now. We’re trying to fine tune and continue to work on our doubles play,” Pennignton said.

Both teams are head coached by Pennington, who has been coaching Colgate tennis for the past 16 years. He’s a unifying factor for the collective success of Colgate tennis and has recently won his 150th Colgate men’s match and 275th match overall.

“I’d say he’s a player’s coach for sure. It’s really easy to play for him. He makes it fun to play tennis here. He keeps it pretty light, but at the same time, is able to keep his authority and still, you know, be serious,” Potter said. 

Pennington celebrates his teams’ every success with great enthusiasm. One of his proudest moments this season was when the women’s team beat Lehigh for the first time in nine years.

“So it’s been a long time coming and this year we were able to get the victory on their home court. And after the win, we had a shirt rip by Bobby Pennington per tradition. And so that was just a great moment to really see all of our hard work pay off,” Laub said. 

The majority of the teams’ highlights this season are accredited to tremendous performances by first-year players. Both teams clinched 4-3 wins against Niagara University earlier this season with two first-year players securing the victories. 

“They beat Niagara 4-3 back to back, the same day coming down to the last match, and the last match was a freshman. That was pretty cool. Jordan Ben-Shmuel at three and for the men it was freshmen, Ben Graham,” Pennington said.

First-year Addie Eklund has also been playing particularly well for the Raiders. She has earned Patriot League Athlete of the Week twice and is considered an elite player by her coaches and teammates. 

“She’s playing some of the best girls in the Patriot League and she’s beating them and she’s making it look easy. So I think there have been many moments in the season where our freshmen have taught us a lot and also Maddie Sullivan. So I think they’ve been unbelievable on the court and they’ve definitely shown me, and I think I can speak for the rest of the upperclassmen, a lot about being fearless out there,” Laub said. 

Although the men’s and women’s teams are separate, they like to call themselves “one team.” They’re one out of two teams in the Patriot League who have the same head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams, which allows for more opportunities to cheer each other on in matches and practices.

“And that I think is a testament to our culture to just have a very good energy. They have a very good vibe about them,” Pennington said.

Laub talks about the good energy that the teams have facilitated on and off the court this season.

“We’re always bantering. We’re always sending some funny story, funny quote, something back and forth, something to motivate us for the next match. We definitely have the best banter in the Patriot League,” Laub said.

Both teams have been particularly strong in supporting each other this season and unifying the two teams to having collective success as one team. 

“We know that it’s not a true win unless both teams win,” Laub said.

Both teams will be playing their final regular season matches this coming weekend at home, then going into the Patriot League Tournament. Their goals are to end their respective regular seasons with winning records and go to the finals.