The Bowdoin men’s tennis team hosted the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England Regional Championship last month at Pickard Courts. Reid Staples ’24 and Ethan Bradley ’24 both advanced to the round of 16 in the 64-team singles bracket before teaming up in the doubles bracket. Mark Kneiss ’26 and Aden Dorros ’27 joined Staples and Bradley in the round of 16.
“A lot of us had really good upsets in the first round, but we didn’t really progress further than the third round, which is a contrast to last year when we had two [players] from our team in the finals. It was obviously different—with a younger team, it’s more developmental, especially in the fall,” Bradley said.
A large contingent of upperclassmen on the team are abroad this semester, but this has not stopped the Polar Bears from keeping high spirits. The team is taking advantage of its fall season as a precursor to its main season in the spring. Having a smaller core means that younger players have been able to hone their skills against top players all across New England.
“[New players] have an opportunity to get more attention than they [normally] would because the coach’s attention would be split across so many more people, but now we’re a tighter group,” Kneiss said. “Everyone got to play in the main draw of the ITA, which was really important for … putting [the] guys in a position where they can [compete with] top players on various teams.”
Last season, the team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA DIII Men’s Tennis Championship in Orlando, Fla. and was ranked fourth nationally.
“Being ranked [fourth] in the country at the end of last season was big for us—it was something that gave us a lot of confidence and really was a testament to the work we put in and … what this team is capable of,” Kneiss said.
Kneiss and Bradley believe that the team’s success last year was a significant improvement from the year before but hopes the team will continue to grow as individuals.
“I see a lot of the growth from the sophomores who were first years last year. A few of them didn’t really have a lot of opportunities to play because we were an older team [last year],” Bradley said.
Bradley acknowledged that tennis can be challenging as an individual sport.
“In tennis, in individual sports, it’s so [easy] to get down on yourself or be negative with yourself, which is something that I struggled with my first few years,” Bradley said. “The biggest adjustment that I have [made] for playing in college is [just] trying to compete as hard as I can.”
Bradley, one of four seniors on the team, is excited for his last season and is looking towards another NCAA Championship run.
“It’s sort of our last hurrah,” he said. “We’re still ways away … from actually competing, but I think we have really high expectations for ourselves. We’re not as result-oriented in the fall, but we’re definitely gearing up to have a very good season.”
Kneiss echoed Bradley’s sentiments and is confident in his team’s ability to perform well this spring.
“We [have] high hopes for this season, and we have full confidence in everybody on the team,” Kneiss said. “We believe that we can take it all the way.”
The Polar Bears intend on taking this positive outlook into the weekend at the Wallach Invitational, hosted by Bates College. The invitational will be Bowdoin’s final competition of its fall season.