02
Apr
10

cats have winning weekend in buckeye state

The trip to Ohio started on a sunny Thursday afternoon here in Maine, and it ended with a late night flight back to New England on Sunday. When the men’s team traveled down to Boston at the beginning of the weekend they weren’t sure what to expect as they were scheduled to play some unfamiliar foes during their three days in the Buckeye state. However, the Cats did know three matches in three days after spending all of Thursday traveling would make for a long weekend, but as always they planned to Enjoy the Struggle.

First up on Friday afternoon was Denison who was ranked #9 in the Central Region. Denison traditionally plays very smart and good doubles and it showed as they were able to get wins at the #1 and #3 positions. Knowing that going down 3-0 after the doubles is almost impossible to come back from, Jeff and Max had the pressure on them as they were locked in a tight match at #2. The good thing was they had been in this situation before, having everyone watching them, knowing a huge momentum swing would occur with the outcome of the match. Down match points on Max’s serve, he hit two of his biggest serves of the match to pull them out of the hole and eventually win a long deuce game. They would then go into the tie-break and unlike the Brandeis match where they got ahead early; they would have to fight back and forth against the Big Red duo. But as most Cats’ fans who follow the team know, there was never any doubt Jeff and Max would find a way, and they did with the 7-5 win. You could see the spirit taken out of the Denison team just a little knowing they were so close to a 3-0 lead and at the same time confidence was restored to the Cats. Four wins in the singles matches would be no problem, but where would those four wins come from.

The first would come from Max at #3. He took the momentum he gained from his great play in doubles and imposed his will on his opponent from the first ball. He really showed his leadership in this match by getting the Cats two very important matches. Bettles at #4 would be the next, giving the Cats a 3-2 lead. Bettles winning in singles would become a recurring theme of the weekend. Amrit riding a five match win streak would make it six in a row with his win over Tom Cawood, 6-0, 6-4. Jeff playing at #6 would follow Max’s lead and get his second win of the day to clinch the 5-4 win for the Cats. It was his most complete singles match of his career winning in dominating fashion, 6-2, 6-2. It’s always an impressive win when you are down 2-1 after the doubles, plus you add the fact of playing on the road in a routy environment, the Cats could feel good about this win. They couldn’t enjoy it for long though as they traveled to Kenyon the next afternoon.

Kenyon, ranked #6 nationally, would be a good test for the Cats allowing us to face a top ranked opponent early in the season that is not in the NESCAC. The Cats got off to an early lead with Bettles and Rupa winning at #1 doubles 8-5 against Greenberg and Brody. Both the #2 and #3 matches were close early, but the Lords found their stride and came back to get the 2-1 lead after doubles. The Cats still felt confident knowing they had just come back from the same deficit the day before. Amrit, who was going up against 2008 singles national champion Mike Greenberg, played an excellent set and a half. Greenberg then picked up his play and Amrit started to cramp in the third set and couldn’t get the victory. It was an exciting match that had the boisterous Kenyon crowd out of their seats. The match at #2 between Reiss and Polster was also entertaining, full of long points and plenty of winners from both sides. Polster was able to get the victory for his team after almost two hours of tennis. Bettles would get the only win for the Cats in singles after digging deep to stay in the second set. After being down set points he was able to force it to a tie-break and get the W. Jeff played another excellent match and had his chances at #6 losing 7-6, 6-4. The Cats knew this would be a tough match to win, but also knew the purpose of playing the match was to get us ready for the NESCAC schedule ahead, which is exactly what it did.

Case Western Reserve traveled down from Cleveland to meet us at Kenyon on Sunday morning. Even though this was the lower ranked of the three teams we played in Ohio, we knew it would not be an easy match with this being the third match in as many days. The key would be to get off to a fast start, which is exactly what we did in doubles. Amrit and Matt won easily at #1 and Jeff and Max continued to play well taking their match 8-4. This gave the Cats a 2-1 lead going into the singles, something they hadn’t had so far on the trip. Max and Matt were all business as they each won without losing a game. Winning 6-0, 6-0 is not easy in a college match, so this was an impressive feat on weary legs. Amrit clinched the match with his win at #1 and is now 7-1 in singles on the season. Jeff fought through a set deficit and an injured leg to win his match 10-6 in the match tie-break. Fenno finished off the winning for the Cats when his opponent had to retire two points away from defeat because of a knee injury.

So the Cats hustled to the airport to catch their flight back to Boston having gone 2-1 on their trip to the Midwest. Everyone was tired as we finally arrived back to campus, but it was still a good feeling knowing the trip had been a job well done. It prepared us for our upcoming matches, especially for Middlebury who will visit the Wallach Center this Saturday morning ranked #1 in the nation.

**Two side notes: The team played an early April Fools joke on Coach Box at Texas Roadhouse before the Denison match, saying it was his birthday so the staff would sing happy birthday to him while he wore a rather large cowboy hat. Fortunately, there is no picture or video capturing the moment. Secondly, check out the interview with Amrit and Max about the Ohio trip on our YouTube page. You can find the link at the top right of the blog.**

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