On Mar. 12, Men’s Tennis debuted at home against Brandeis University in hopes of staying undefeated. The Mules are off to a hot 2–0 start, previously defeating Hamilton and Amherst. The win against Amherst was the Mules’ first in program history.
On the heels of a difficult week, with the team dealing with multiple illnesses and a frightening Saturday morning for the College, the Mules relied on one another and came out firing on all cylinders.
Starting in doubles, the Mules won two out of their three matches. Captain Jan Wenger `23 and Jake Cohen `25 defeated their opponents 8–5 on court one, and Captain Joey Barrett `24 and Aidan Kwong `26 destroyed their opponents 8–0 on court three.
Kwong was particularly impressive on the day, not losing a single game in his doubles or singles action.
Cohen made the match score 3–1 as he handily defeated his opponent 6–1, 6–2 in second singles.
Wenger was the next to finish in third singles. Plagued by sickness, he got off to a slow start, and his opponent made quick work of the first set, winning 6–0. Wenger, however, kept his composure and comfortably responded, winning the second set 6–2. With the momentum of the second set, he returned the favor of the first and finished the third set 6–0 to win his match.
Next in line to join the win column was Ben Powis `23, who clinched the match for the Mules at fourth singles. Powis was in a heated match, battling an opponent with a similarly crafty style. Both opponents put on a show for the crowd with an array of improbable passing shots and unconventional winners that led to a momentous first-set tiebreak. Powis was down 5–1 before coming back to win 8–6.
After the exhausting first set, Powis took over and quickly finished the second 6–1. While the Mules rejoiced in the win, Barrett, Kwong, and Sam Henry `24 still were competing in their matches.
Dealing with a swollen ankle, Barrett faced a skilled opponent in first singles. Barrett dominated the first set 6–0 before his injuries caught up to him in the second set. Losing the second 3–6, he willed himself to victory and won the third 6–4.
Henry’s match also went the distance, as he faced a strong Brandeis foe. Henry stuck to his game and used the advantage of the home crowd behind him to win 7–6, 1–6, 10–7 (the third set was a super-tiebreaker) at fifth singles.
In sixth singles, Kwong showed his skill and power winning 6–0, 6–0. The previous week, he played his first spring season matches and struggled with nerves with two singles losses. His bounce-back wins against Brandeis signaled a return to the focus that the Mules have prided themselves on early in the season.
After the game, Cohen commented on the team’s response to adversity and their mindset heading into their spring break matches in Texas.
“We’ve responded really strongly [to adversity]. We got off to a tough start in our first match against a very difficult Hamilton team with unique courts but we handled it well by staying calm and staying in the present. Our mental practices have been paying off really well, and it’s shown in the results,” he said.
“We are all really excited to go to warm weather…We’re playing two top-fifteen teams, so we’re looking forward to showing people that we can stay with the best and pull off some upsets. We’re going in with a chip on our shoulders because going into the year we weren’t ranked nearly as high as I think we should have been, and we’re just continuing to prove people wrong every match,” he said.
~ Julian Cangieter-Hernandez `254
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