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Men’s Tennis Loses first NESCAC match

On Apr. 8, twentieth-ranked Men’s Tennis hosted the fourth-ranked Tufts Jumbos in a battle of NESCAC teams that are undefeated in conference play. Coming off of a convincing win versus Wesleyan earlier that week, the Mules entered the match confidently as the underdogs.


In doubles, the Mules fell behind early on the top two courts. The combination of confidence and skill from the Jumbos quickly dominated play before the Mules were able to slow down the points and come back.


Courts one and two remained competitive for the rest of play, but both Colby pairings fell to Tufts in a little under an hour. All eyes turned to court three where captain Joey Barrett `23 and Aidan Kwong `26 held the lead.


Despite being down multiple games, the Jumbos gained momentum after winning points in the longer rallies of the match. Tufts eventually forced the match to a tiebreak where they came out victorious.


The Mules regrouped after doubles, down 3–0 in the match score. Lines one, three, four, and five were the first wave of singles on.


The first two to finish were captain Jan Wenger `23 and Ben Powis `23, who finished under an hour and twenty minutes of play. Wenger and Powis got off to a slow start on their courts and quickly dropped the first set. 


Wenger battled back in his match, going back and forth in the second set to push a tiebreaker at six all. Unfortunately, the comeback fell short, and Wenger narrowly lost the tiebreaker 7–5, losing the match on court three. 


Dealing with an ankle injury, Powis pushed himself to the limit to fight against his opponent. Using his crafty play style and defending well against heavy shots from his Tufts opponent, Powis made the second set more competitive, falling 6–2, 6–4. With Powis’s loss, the Mules had already lost on five courts, falling to Tufts.


The next to finish was Barrett who was in a heated exchange on court one. Playing in front of a large crowd, Barrett used the fans to his advantage for moral support. He played one of the best matches of the season but ultimately fell to a talented Tufts player 6–3, 6–3.


The last to finish in the first wave of singles, on the opposite end of the field house, Sam Henry `24 faced a familiar foe on the fifth court. He played doubles with his opponent in his junior days at home. This match, however, was no friendly exchange. 


Henry’s opponent played a stellar first set, winning every single game to go up 6–0. Henry regrouped after the set and stormed back to win the next two sets, 6–3, 6–1.


After play, Henry reflected on his match. “My first set was difficult. I felt that I was playing well even though I lost pretty badly. I just had to stay strong mentally; it’s easy to crash out, but I was able to stay on point and play to my strengths. I realized what I could do to exploit his weaknesses, so I took advantage of that in the second and third sets. I also trusted my fitness; I knew I could outlast him and pull out the victory,” Henry said.


Henry was the sole winner of the day; Jake Cohen `25 and Kwong `26 went on in the second wave of singles and both lost in straight sets.


Henry also commented on the state of the team and the mindset heading into the next matches versus fifth-ranked Middlebury on Apr. 15 and sixth-ranked Williams on Apr. 16.


“Where our program is at, we have our best chance ever to take down top teams in the country. DIII tennis has such small margins and we try our best, believe, and be brave,” he said. “We’re looking forward to two other really good teams that we play this weekend; two other opportunities to make some headlines for this program. We know that we can compete with anybody.”


~ Julian Cangieter-Hernandez `25

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