Men's Tennis awaits spring
It was a weekend of surprises for four members of Bowdoin's Men's Tennis team.
Heading into last weekend's off-season Omni Hotels/ITA Regional Championship hosted by MIT, the team (comprised of August Felker '03, Colin Joyner '03, Mac Burke '05, and Pat Keneally '05) had expected to face its most formidable opponent in Williams, last year's NCAA national champion. However, it was the tournament's host, MIT, that proved to be the team to beat.
MIT, led by a host of experienced veterans and solid newcomers, dominated the tournament, leading to an all M.I.T. final in both the singles and doubles brackets.
"They are sporting a dynamite first-year who was one of the top junior players in the nation before coming to MIT, a Division I transfer from Russia, and two experienced veterans in the top of their lineup," said co-captain Joyner.
Three of Bowdoin's top four felt the wrath of MIT's fresh lineup, as Burke, Joyner and Keneally were each eliminated from tournament play by a member of MIT's squad. Keneally fell in the round of 32, Burke in the quarterfinals, and Joyner in the Semifinals. Felker was ousted in the round of 64 to Wesleyan's top player.
In doubles action, Burke and Keneally lost in the round of 16 to MIT, while Felker and Joyner were defeated by Williams in the quarterfinals.
Both Williams and Middlebury, though thought to have the upper hand in the NESCAC because of a new crop of self-proclaimed "stellar" first-years, were also outperformed by MIT.
"We found out that Middlebury's inexperience as a young team might be more of a weakness for them than expected," said Joyner. "Williams is young this year also. The back-to-back national champions are going to find it very challenging to even make the Elite Eight this year."
While the results of this tournament suggest a changing of the guard in the world of NESCAC Men's Tennis, Joyner is quick to point out that the individual performances of last weekend provide little indication of a team's standing for the upcoming spring season.
"We got to see the best of the best this weekend, but the results should not be taken too seriously," said Joyner. "Individually MIT is a powerhouse, but this says nothing about how they will perform as a team. Great team chemistry is a determining factor in college tennis. It is the spring dual matches that will separate the teams with talent from the talented teams."