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Men's Tennis Closes Winning Year With Loss to Williams at Regionals

By Dan Wang
Team Member

Over the weekend of May 9-11, the men's tennis team advanced to the final day of competition at the NCAA Division III East Regional Championship at Williams College. It fell one win short of qualifying for the national championships, falling to the number one seed Williams, 70.

On May 9, the first day, fifth seeded MIT faced twelfth seed Franklin and Marshall College and came away with a 61 victory. The action heated up quickly in the beginning doubles matches. The third doubles team of Jim Matysczak '99 and Dan Wang '97 easily won, 82. However, F&M responded with an 83 win at first doubles over Eric Chen '00 and Mik Mukherje '00.

Controversial call rankles MIT

The winner of the remaining doubles match, at the number two spot, would earn a point for the team. The pair of Hank Lin '97 and Jason Weintraub '97 fought to a tiebreaker at 88, and proceeded to take a 50 lead in the breaker. F&M made the score 53, when the F&M player made a controversial call.

Weintraub served what appeared to be an ace, which would have given the MIT pair a 63 lead and match points, when the F&M player called the ball out. The opponent seemed to have cheated by making such a call intentionally.

A heated discussion broke out between players and officials, which continued for a short time after the match, when it was settled in F&M's favor. The F&M duo went on to win the tiebreaker 86, and the match, gaining a 10 lead overall.

Despite the doubles losses, MIT swept all six single matches. MIT gained two early points at second and third singles, as Weintraub won, 64, 62, and Matysczak achieved a 60, 60 result.

At first singles, Chen won the match in three sets 36, 64, 64, over the region's seventh-ranked singles player. Soon afterwards, fifth singles player Ben Cooke 00 clinched the team victory with a 62, 64 win.

At fourth singles, Wang dropped the second set after easily winning the first set, but bounced back to win, 62, 57, 64. At sixth singles, Anit Chakraborty '99 completed the sweep with a 61, 60.

Team defeats local favorite

On Saturday, the second day of competition, MIT went up against the fourth-seeded College of New Jersey. The relied on their strength at the bottom of the lineup to eke out a 43 win.

The Lions, with a vast amount of crowd support, stormed to a 10 lead by taking the top two doubles matches, both by 85 scores. They then added another point when their second singles player disposed of Weintraub, 62, 63.

Wang then put MIT on the board with a 62, 62 win at fourth singles. Soon afterwards TCNJ captured an additional point at the number one singles spot, as their player defeated Chen, 63, 62.

However, at third singles, Matysczak emerged the victor of what would be the pivotal match, a 76 (86 in tiebreaker), 75 battle. Any further hopes that they might have had were quickly deflated as they witnessed a convincing display of MIT's depth.

Chakraborty evened the score with a 60, 60 result at sixth singles. Cooke once again clinched the team result, with a 62, 62 win.

Team plays well against Williams

Williams, the opponent for Sunday's semifinal, was ranked first in the East with an undefeated record. The team featured four regionally-ranked singles players, the region's top-ranked singles player, and the nation's top-ranked doubles pair.

The Engineers fought hard, but on this day, the Ephs proved to be the stronger team. In the opening doubles portion, Williams quickly swept all three matches. Williams then went on to win five of the six singles matches in straight sets. In the other match, at first singles, Chen took the first set, 64, but then dropped the last two, 62, 60.

The team concluded the season with a 165 record, completing its first winning season in four years. Along the way, it scored victories over Division I opponents Boston College, Boston University, and University of Vermont. Its appearance in the NCAA regionals marked its first selection for the NCAA team tournament since 1992. The Engineers competed in the national championships in 1991 and 1992.