The Vassar men’s tennis team is already off to a solid start with one win and one loss this past weekend against RIT and Skidmore respectively, putting their record at 2-1 this season. Coming off a successful fall season in which the squad secured two wins and only lost one contest, the Brewers are already in motion for a spring better than last year’s.
In the 2016 spring season, the Vassar men’s tennis team posted a record of 6-12. As a result, the team was anticipated to finish in fourth in a preseason poll. The poll surveys all Liberty League men’s tennis coaches to predict the order in which the teams will end up. However, the Brewers are refining their skills and continuing their hard work to help them take that next step and become a force to be reckoned with in the Liberty League.
This past weekend, the Brewers stepped up and secured a 9-0 win against RIT. Not one Brewer lost a match on their first home court match of the season. Unfortunately, however, the trip to Saratoga Springs proved to be detrimental to the team, as they fell 0-9 to the Skidmore Thoroughbreds.
Reflecting upon polar opposite finishes, the team points to pace of play and confidence to explain the difference in results. Acknowledging the difficulties, Vassar looks to learn from its performance against Skidmore to propel the team to success in the future.
Freshman Jeremy Auh has been a solid contributor to the men’s team in his first season as a Brewer. Against RIT, Auh felt that the team was very confident going into their matches, but against Skidmore he noted a difference in attitude. Auh explained, “I thought that we had a little bit of a slow start in doubles which made things difficult for us.” However, their mental toughness allowed the Brewers to put up a strong fight against the Thoroughbreds.
When looking at what keeps the team going strong, Auh points to the leadership of the upperclassmen. “All three seniors, Alexander Luckmann, Nick Litsky and Juan Fe, make up huge roles in our starting lineup and they bring fire and intensity to practice and matches,” Auh continued. “In addition, with them on the team, they bring a lot of experience to our team.”
At the reins, the team’s three seniors lead by example, provide the team with motivation and push VC to get them through practice every day. Keeping the team in check and making sure that everyone is working his hardest each and every day is a role that these three seniors have adopted, and it is what will keep the Brewers focused and confident during the entirety of the spring season.
After their matches this weekend, the Brewers are already looking to improve and prepare for their upcoming matches. Moving forward, the team’s two main focuses are its doubles play and confidence. “One thing that we have been working on throughout the spring season and something that Coach Wong has been emphasizing every day at practice are our doubles and confidence. Our doubles have developed a lot and gotten much stronger, but I still believe there is plenty of work still to be done,” Auh stated.
Additionally, Auh pointed out, “Confidence is something that we have been talking about a lot over the past month or so. It is the confidence to be able to play and believe that we belong on the court with the best teams in the region and nation.” He believes that this newfound sense of confidence is what will help the men’s tennis team reach major feats this season.
According to Coach Alex Wong, the team has already shown improvement in the first few weeks of the spring season. He was very pleased with the win against RIT, and specifically pointed out that he was happy to see the doubles matches being won more decisively in comparison to last year.
However, against Skidmore, Coach Wong shared, “I was disappointed in the way that we came out in doubles, but the team showed a lot of character by fighting hard in the singles.”
Focusing on singles play, Coach Wong also notes the positives that emerged out of the matches against the Thoroughbreds. This season, he is not looking toward one person in particular to carry the team. “We are a team that is going to need every single one of our players to contribute,” Coach Wong stated.
In a short span of time, Coach Wong is already happy with the way the lineup is shaping up for the rest of the season. “Through just the first few matches, we have used a different lineup each time, and started nearly every player on the roster,” Coach Wong iterated. “I am happy with the hard work that each player has been putting in. I think that each of the singles starters have been playing quite well, especially the top five.”
He pointed out specific players such as Litsky, Laso, Luckmann, Auh and freshman Allen Sokolov who have stepped up and played some great matches so far. The determination and the grit with which they played their first few matches is a good sign for what is to come for the rest of the season.
With much positivity, the Vassar men’s tennis team looks forward to the remainder of its spring season. VC has a lot in store for them this season with 15 matches before the Liberty League Championships in May.
Coming up, the team will face the University of Rochester and The College of New Jersey before taking off to Claremont, CA for spring break. Vassar will face Rochester at home this Saturday, Feb. 25 and will travel to Ewing, NJ to face TCNJ on Sunday, March 5.