Tennis Streak Ends With Williams Loss
Institute to Host NCAA Div. III RegionalsBy Robert Aronstam
Last Saturday, men’s tennis finally met their match. Williams College, the top-ranked NCAA Division III school in the East Region, ended MIT’s 13-game winning streak by defeating the Engineers 5-2.
MIT’s number one singles player, Jeffrey P. Augustyn ’03, played an exciting match with his counterpart from Williams. The outcome was not decided until the final games of the third set.
Augustyn went down a break early in the first set. He was broken at love in the fourth game and was unable to rebound. He hit several winners, but his opponent kept the upper hand by playing with extreme consistency.
While Augustyn muscled his ground strokes, his opponent hit a variety of shots. The Williams player mixed in slice backhands whenever he was on the run. This style allowed him time to recover before the next shot.
Augustyn’s frustration mounted as he dealt with longer series of vollies. He tried charging the net, but was largely unsuccessful. His opponent came up with timely passing shots in most of these situations.
The Williams number one player controlled the entire first set, though it was not due to his remarkable shots. Rather, he player waited for Augustyn to self-destruct. The set ended quickly, as Augustyn’s unforced errors and unsuccessful volley attempts mounted.
The beginning of the second set was more of the same. Augustyn fell behind by a break early in the set. Remarkably, Augustyn bounced back from the deficit.
Augustyn’s recovery was not due to a dramatic change in his game-plan or superior play. Augustyn simply seemed to play smarter tennis. Instead of forcing shots that weren’t there, he waited for the right opportunity to pull the trigger.
Although he continued to hit aggressive shots and charge the net, his play became much more effective because he didn’t go for too much on every shot. Additionally, he took control of the net behind better approach shots, setting up a few volley winners. He ended the second set with a service break of his opponent.
Augustyn maintained control in the third set. He dominated his service games with huge forehands and overhead winners. However, he was unable to come up with a service break.
In the ninth game, the match slipped away with a few errant shots. Though Augustyn had played strongly up until that point, he dumped a few balls in the net, giving away a service game. In the next game, the Williams player served out the match.
Co-captain Ricardo Rossello ’01 and freshman Michael H. Ogrydziak ’04 provided the only MIT victories.
The men will participate in the NCAA Division III East Regional Competition this weekend. The competition will be held at MIT.