The men’s and women’s tennis teams concluded strong seasons this week, with the men’s team on the brink of earning a slot in the 2014 NCAA Division III Tournament.
On Wednesday, April 23, the men’s team (10-5) beat out Stevens Institute of Technology 5-4 in a home-court matchup, which gives them a chance to qualify for nationals on May 5.
Freshman Mike Stanley and sophomore Billy Buchbinder won their doubles round 8-5 and also posted singles victories — Stanley with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 series and Buchbinder with a 6-2, 6-2 series.
Senior Howard Telson and sophomore Pierce Cooper earned a point for the Lions overall with their 8-2 doubles victory.
“I’m really proud of the way our team pulled together,” Telson said. “We each contributed to the upset.”
Telson, who recently posted his 100th career win, is preparing to graduate in May. He and fellow senior Gabe Allen were honored in a small ceremony prior to the match.
“I’m sad it’s over,” Gabe Allen said. “I really grew close to these guys over the years, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Three days later, on Saturday, April 26, the women’s team (11-6) fell to SUNY Geneseo 6-3 at home. Before the match, senior captain Tara Criscuolo was honored in a ceremony for graduating players. She went on to cede a hard-fought series in the third set.
Junior captain Sarah Lippincott and freshman Anna Prestera picked up an 8-5 victory in the third doubles round, and Prestera went on to win her singles match 6-1, 6-3.
Sophomore Emma Allen scored a 6-1, 6-4 singles victory in the fourth spot, and said she was happy just to be playing alongside her teammates.
“It’s been a great season,” Emma Allen said. “We’ve been really positive and everyone’s been motivated to do well. It’s so helpful when you’re out there to hear everyone cheering you on.”
The women qualified for Nationals in the fall after sweeping the NJACs and are now looking to prepare for Nationals this season.
On the men’s side, sophomore Cooper is writing history. He hasn’t lost a duel match in singles during his freshman and sophomore years, marking his statistics at 34-0.
“It’s nervewracking,” Telson said of the wait to hear if they would qualify for a spot in the national tournament. “But at the same time it’s humbling to know that we still have to work hard and hope for the best.”