Men’s tennis kicked off a hectic weekend on Saturday as it hosted its Patriot League rival, Lehigh, at the Turning Stone Sportsplex in Verona, N.Y. Despite the best efforts of the team, its eight-match winning streak came to an end as Lehigh emerged with a 4-3 win over Colgate. Though off to a disappointing start, the Raiders bounced back on Sunday, concluding its regular season with a 6-1 victory over Lafayette, also a member of the Patriot League.
Coming off of an incredible comeback victory over Bucknell last weekend, Colgate came out strong on Saturday, starting off the day with two doubles victories. While first-year Jacob Daugherty and junior Tom Haile won the first doubles match 8-3, senior Alan Pleat and junior Nick Laub also snagged a victory in the second match with a score of 8-4. Though the third doubles was lost, the Raiders were able to claim the doubles point.
Though these early victories allowed Colgate to start the day with a 1-0 lead over the Mountain Hawks, Lehigh battled back in singles, reclaiming the match by winning four of the five matches. For the Raiders, only Laub was victorious, snagging a win with scores of 6-2 and 6-4.
“I think we came out of the gate a little overconfident because we’ve been doing so well in recent matches, and though we started out strong, we definitely didn’t anticipate how challenging the match-up with Lehigh would be,” Daugherty said of Saturday’s match.
On Sunday, the Raiders came back strong when taking on Lafayette in their final match of the regular season, capping off what head coach Bobby Pennington called an “incredible season.” Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, Colgate faced off with the Patriot League foe at the J.W. Abrahamson Tennis Courts, ending the day with a 6-1 win over the Leopards.
Colgate took the match after winning two out of three doubles matches and five out of six singles matches, including four of the top five. Notable performances included that of Pleat, the team’s only senior, who ended his final regular collegiate season by winning both of his matches; the first was in the first doubles when paired up with Laub, who together scored an 8-4 win, and then in the second singles match, where he emerged victorious with scores of 6-1 and 6-3.
Other impressive successes included those of Laub and Daugherty, who, like Pleat, won both their matches. After winning doubles with Pleat, Laub battled tirelessly on to eventually triumph over his opponent after three sets with scores of 5-7, 7-6, and 10-8 in the third singles match, while Daugherty took the first singles with scores of 6-1 and 6-3.
Daugherty, who has become known for his resolute mentality and commitment to hard work, reflected on his first season as a collegiate athlete.
“It’s been a really rewarding experience so far. I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know everyone on the team and be consistently challenged to improve, and I’m really grateful to both my coaches and teammates for a great first-year,” he said.
By coming out of their final regular season match with a win, Colgate was able to procure nine victories in their last ten matches, ending the season on a positive note and lifting morale for the upcoming league championships. Overall, the Raiders finished out their season with 14-6 overall record, with a 4-2 score in the league. Up next, the team will travel to Lewisburg, Pa., on Friday to participate in the Patriot League Championship Tournament, giving them a chance to once again meet with current rivals and gain a chance at redemption as they take on Lehigh, the team that brought their incredible winning streak to a close. The Patriot League Championships spans from April 17–19 at Bucknell University. Colgate will face off against the Bison in the first match in the tournament.