Men's Tennis Loses to VermontBy Daniel Wang
Throughout the sporadic weather patterns that the area has experienced, signs of the spring season did not appear until this past weekend. Last Friday, with the sun out, and almost all of the snow melted, the men's tennis team took on Division I opponent University of Vermont, in only its second outdoor playing session of the season. The Vermont team had come out of hibernation as well, playing outdoors for the first time this season, and defeated MIT, 6-1. The Engineers, however, did have a chance to win, taking three of the singles matches to three sets.
Play commenced with the three doubles matches, which did not fare too well for MIT. The first doubles team of Jay Muelhoefer '94 and Nick Tsai '94, the current New England Division III Champions, played some tough points, but fell in the end, 8-4. The same went for the second doubles team, of Mark Erickson '94 and Jason Weintraub '97. The pair, which had only recently played together, also lost by a score of 8-4. Out of the view of the bleachers, the third pair, consisting of Hank Lin '97 and Rob Marcato '97, struggled and suffered an 8-2 defeat.
Similar to the result of the team's last match, against Harvard University, Muelhoefer captured the team's only win, as he emerged victorious in his match at first singles, 6-2, 6-4.
Unfortunately for MIT, two quick straight-set losses offset Muelhoefer's win. Mauricio Lomelin '94, the second-singles player, dropped a (score) verdict, as did fifth-singles player Weintraub, who suffered a (score) loss.
The other three matches turned out to be three-setters, which were close despite the final scores. Erickson and Tsai, at third and fourth singles, both lost their first sets. In the second set, however, both turned up the intensity, and starting forcing the issue. They succeeded, with very few errors. Erickson stormed to a 6-0 second set win, while Tsai did the same by winning his set, 6-4.
Unfortunately, their opponents regrouped, and captured both of the matches. Tsai held a 3-0 lead in the final set before his foe started attacking the net. Placed on the defensive, Tsai missed more shots, and saw some winners go by him. His opponent ran off six straight games, winning the match, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
Erickson experienced a similar fate, leading 2-1 in the final set before his opponent won five games in a row to win the match. Despite the losses, both Erickson and Tsai were satisfied with the way they played, as they pointed to aspects other than the final result.
The trend strangely continued over on the far side of the courts, where sixth singles player Dan Wang '97 saw action for the first time this spring. Wang got off to quick start, winning the first five games, before winning the first set, 6-2. However, things went downhill from there. The Vermont player started to get into the match by placing more balls in the courts, and attacked with success. Wang led 2-0 in the third set, but squandered the lead, and lost six games in a row for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 defeat.
As a result of the dual meet, the team has lost both matches it has played this spring, bringing the overall record for season to 2-4. All four losses have come at the hands of Division I teams. The Engineers will finally see action against Division III competition tomorrow afternoon, when they take on the United States Coast Guard Academy at home. Two days afterwards, they will fly to Swarthmore, PA, to face Division III powerhouses Swarthmore College and Trinity University. With qualifying for the NCAA Division III Championships as a team, as a major goal for the season, results of the the matchups with Division III schools will be even more important than the matches already played.