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Tennis starts season with 8–1 DIII record

March 29, 2024

Courtesy of Brian Beard
LOB SALAD: The tennis team huddles up during a match. After getting off to an 8–1 start against DIII competition, the team is ready to take on NESCAC opponents.

The men’s tennis team finished its spring break matches in California fourth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings with an 8–1 record over DIII competition.

The team started off the season strong with clean sweeps over Babson College (5–7) and Connecticut College (8–3) before spring break Giving up only three matches, the team’s streak of victories continued as it faced its first five DIII opponents on its California trip.

The Polar Bears secured an 8–1 victory over Chapman University (4–6) followed by another 8–1 victory over Washington University in St. Louis (WashU).

Many team members were excited about their win against WashU (8–5), which is ranked eighth nationally for DIII.

“Across the board, we didn’t give a single free point easily. And I think that was the most impressive thing you saw—no one just lost a match in an hour [against WashU],” captain Tristan Bradley ’23 said.

The team closed out its first three matches with a perfect 9–0 doubles record. After its match against WashU, the team ended the day with another statement 9–0 victory over Whitman College (6–11).

At the Stag-Hen Invitational, the team had a series of decisive victories, sweeping Pomona-Pitzer (5–10) 9–0 and giving up only one match to Case Western Reserve (14–4), who won the national championship last year and is currently ranked first in the ITA.

The Polar Bears faced their first loss of the season (3–4) against Claremont McKenna (CMC). Despite the loss, Jack Flores ’24 was impressed by the team’s attitude against CMC (13–3).

“That was just a true demonstration of who we are and shows that, even when we’re playing a good team, and we’re down, we can still stay out there and fight ’til the end,” Flores said.

The team walked away from its first week of competition proud of its victories over WashU and Case Western, and the hard work it put in to achieve them.

“They’re really just the culmination of us being fully locked in…. We’ve told people on the team that one through 12—everyone has a role. Everyone has a job, and it doesn’t matter if you’re starting or not, you’re going to do that job to the best of your ability,,” Bradley said.

With twelve members, seven of whom are upperclassmen, the team fosters a tight-knit dynamic.

“Those relationships have allowed us to really be relaxed in the big moments, which is something that you don’t know how important it is until you’re in those situations,” Bradley said.

Because the team has a bigger bench this year, members who historically have not gotten as much playing time are able to make a greater impact on the court..

“Being able to see a lot of the bench guys get great reps and big matches and big situations is great. It’s great to see as a leader on the team, and see those guys making drastic improvements in such a short time span,” captain Reid Staples ’24 said.

The latter portion of the trip saw the team splitting four matches. The first of these matches ended with a 1–4 loss to Westcliff University (10–6), with two singles matches unfinished. Later that day, Bowdoin managed to squeeze out a close 5–4 victory over University of Redlands (7–5), splitting the doubles matches and winning two of three singles matches to put the team just over the edge.

The team wrapped up spring break competition with a clean 4–0 sweep over Hope International University (6–9) and then ended with a close 3–4 loss to Point Loma Nazarene University (8–5).

The Polar Bears arrived in California confident in the work they had put in beforehand and left confident in their abilities and energized as they prepare to face NESCAC opponents.

After losing in the finals of the NESCAC championship last year, the team is eager to secure the win this year. Ultimately, the team has its sights set on the state and national championships as well, but Bradley added that the team is also focused on process-oriented goals.

“We are constantly trying to push the envelope to make sure that one through 12, everyone’s doing everything they can to be successful. And at the end of the day that will show out in the results,” Bradley said.

The team will resume play on April 6 with home matches against Hamilton College (6–4; 0–2 NESCAC) and MIT (8–2).


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