Men’s tennis is on an absolute tear. After starting off the season 5-5, the Raiders have strung together eight straight wins, and are doing so in a thrilling fashion. This week’s match against Bucknell featured an epic comeback by the Raiders, and what head coach Bob Pennington called “one of my top five wins ever in my 350 matches here at Colgate.”
In atypical fashion, Colgate came out of the start slow, losing the much-heralded doubles point after dropping first and third doubles each by a score of 8-5. Junior Nick Laub and senior captain Alan Pleat won second doubles 8-6, although it did not count towards the score.
Sophomore Win Reynolds and first-year phenom Jacob Daugherty lost fourth and first singles by a score of 0-6, 1-6 and 4-6, 1-6 respectively.
The Raiders now found themselves in unfamiliar territory, trailing 3-0 to the Bison, but continued to grind. Laub quickly finished out his match 7-6 (5), 6-4, which gave his team some much
“After seeing Laub win his match at third singles, I knew that we would have a chance to come from being and win the dual,” Pleat said in response to how he turned his match around.
“[Pleat] can hit big balls from the baseline, or come in after his serve and attack the net,” Pennington said.
Pleat’s match started to swing his way after a marked improvement in his first-serve percentage. The big-man began attacking short returns, and it certainly paid dividends in the second set. Facing a match point in the second set tie-breaker, Pleat boomed an unreturnable serve to get himself out of the sticky situation.
Meanwhile, on courts five and six sophomore Bobby Alter and sophomore Jake Hirschberg had finished their matches, winning 7-5, 6-4 and 6-4, 6-3 respectively to even the dual score
All eyes turned to Pleat’s court, as his third set’s outcome would determine
Pleat later credited the “guys not playing singles, who helped me through my match and our other singles matches with their constant energy” as a reason he was able to pull out this great victory.
In the third set, Pleat simply outlasted first-year opponent Daniel Wright. Pleat credits the team’s “continued hard work in the weight room and competitive practice sessions” as why he was able to keep attacking while his opponent started cramping in the third set.
The 4-3 win after being down 3-0 is indicative of how the team has turned this season around.
“The team always has great depth,” Pennington said, attributing much of this year’s success to Dougherty.
“We wouldn’t be where we are if he weren’t playing one singles,” Pennington continued, as he not only has been clinching one singles and one doubles matches all year long, but he also pushes the rest of the lineup down one spot, giving much of the Raider lineup an advantage as they face less quality players.
Colgate hosts Lehigh on Saturday, April 11, at 2 p.m. on the J.W. Abrahamson Tennis Courts. Come support the Raiders as they try to head into the Patriot League tournament on a