By Matt Bowker
The men’s tennis team suffered its first loss of the young season on Saturday, Feb. 28, dropping a close 5-4 decision at the hands of Rensselaer Polytechnic University.
The Lions quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the visiting Engineers in the frigid weather.
The team’s top doubles pairing of juniors Pierce Cooper and Billy Buchbinder got the Lions off to a hot start, doubling up their opponents, 8-4. The win gave the College a 1-0 lead and kept the duo undefeated on the season.
The College continued to roll with second doubles pair sophomores Jack August and Mike Stanley defeating their counterparts, 8-5. The win was August’s first of two wins on the day and kept him a perfect 4-0 in both singles and doubles on the season. August’s partner, Stanley, picked up his first win in his season debut.
The Lions’ freshmen pairing of Chris D’Agostino and Sean Fernandez were unable to complete the doubles sweep of RPI, falling, 8-2.
While the College was dominant in the doubles competition, the team was unable to carry its momentum over to singles competition.
The team lost four of six singles matches en route to their first loss of the season.
First up for the Lions was Cooper. Cooper, the seventh-ranked tennis player was bested by RPI’s McKinley Grimes in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, to tie up the overall score of the meet at two apiece.
August promptly put the Lions back in the lead by defeating RPI’s senior captain Brandon Mazzara, 6-2, 7-5.
The Engineers took the next two matches to open a 4-3 lead with just two matches remaining. Both Buchbinder and D’Agostino picked up their first singles loss of the season. D’Agostino was able to take his match to a third and final set — the only match of the day to go to a third set — before dropping the deciding set, 6-3.
With the meet on the line, Fernandez was able to steal a victory for the College to tie the meet at four with just one match remaining.
The meet came down to Stanley, making his 2015 singles debut vs. RPI’s junior Sherman Uyeno. While Uyeno had experience on his side, Stanley was coming off a tremendous freshman season in which he went 12-4 and won seven of his last eight singles matches.
Unfortunately for the Lions, Stanley was unable to pull out the victory, and the team lost the meet, 5-4, dropping their record to 1-1 on the season.
Next up for the Lions, Ramapo College will come to campus for a 2:30 p.m. start on Wednesday, March 4. The meet will be the College’s last before a well-deserved, three week break, after which the team’s schedule heats up with three meets for the remainder of the season.