The men’s tennis team dropped six of its seven matches but did manage to win two of three in doubles. The women were shut out, but Australian freshman May Johnson made her U.S. debut.
The men’s and women’s tennis teams both struggled in their season openers Saturday night at Dartmouth.
The men lost six matches to one. They did manage to take two out of three in the doubles matches, however.
The doubles wins came from sophomore Filip and freshman Kacper Rams, who soundly defeated the team of senior Dan Freeman and sophomore Michael Laser, 8-1. Sophomore Dmitry Vizhunov and sophomore Mansur Gishkaev supplied the other men’s doubles victory, as they defeated the Dartmouth team of freshmen Xander Centanari and Mike Jacobs, 8-3.
“Our men’s doubles played really well,” coach Steve Mauro said. “I think at this point, that is where our strengths are.”
The Rams brothers have been the strength of the men’s team throughout the fall season, which culminated with their appearance in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association tournament last November. There, the Rams brothers lost in the second round of doubles competition to a pair from the University of Virginia, the top team in the tournament. In singles play, Kacper lost his opening-round matchup, while Filip had a first-round bye. Filip won his second-round matchup before falling in the third round.
“They are going to have to carry this team,” Mauro said. “They have the talent to do so, and they are looking forward to the challenge.”
Both brothers lost their singles matches Saturday. Filip fell to Freeman, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 10-6, in a closely contested matchup, and Kacper lost, 6-2, 6-4, to junior Curtis Roby.
“We came into this match and expected a different outcome,” Mauro said. “We didn’t play nearly as well as we are capable of. Maybe it’s the lag of not playing for a while.
“Maybe we should have had the team come back and practice a week or two before school started,” Mauro added. “I felt like they needed a break. We finished the fall strong, and we just didn’t get it done today. The effort was there. We really practiced well. It’s just tough to mimic a really good opponent in practice. [But] we will rebound from this. We have a good team, and they are hungry.”
The women’s team fell to Dartmouth, too. They were shut out.
On the bright side, Australian freshman May Johnson made her debut.
“I really liked what she showed out there today,” Mauro said. “She is used to playing outdoors in Australia, so it will take a bit of adjusting to playing indoors. She just moved to the country, so the whole experience may be a little overwhelming.”
Johnson was named one of Australia’s Top 20 female tennis players in the 18-and-under category. She lost her first match in the United States, 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.
“She is going to be a force to be reckoned with in a short period of time,” Mauro said. “I can’t wait to see how much she grows as a player and as a person.”
Despite the opening struggles for both teams, Mauro said he isn’t about to lower his expectations.
“Both teams are very talented, and I fully expect them to rebound and have very successful seasons.”
Both teams will be back in action next week. The women take on Southern New Hampshire and Princeton, while the men will battle Penn.
Ryan Rosengrant can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.