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The Blue & Gray Press | November 22, 2017

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Tennis Looks to Rebound

BY JOHNATHAN WIGGINTON

With a crowd full of family members visiting for Family Weekend, the Men’s tennis team played host to the seventh annual Kickoff Classic, held at the University’s Tennis Center.

Teams from George Mason University, Liberty University, Longwood University and the University of Richmond all came to Fredericksburg to take part in this year’s annual event.

“This should be a good warm-up, there is good competition here,” said senior Zach McGonigal.

However, Mary Wash had more trouble than expected this time around.

The matches played on Friday had to deal with, at some points, very gusty winds, something that can adversely affect a tennis ball. However, since both opponents had to play under the same conditions, no excuses were made and all matches went on as scheduled.

Friday’s singles matches saw a relative split when it came to the win-loss column: Mary Wash won six out of their 13 matches, for a 6-7 singles record that day.

Senior Jason Dunn said in the midst of a lengthy back and forth match, “Looks like it’s gonna be a 3-hour match.” However, both players decided to play the third set in a tie-break style, which significantly shortened the overall match. Unfortunately for Dunn, he dropped the third set and the match, 1-6, 6-1, 10-6.

Of the 12 doubles matches played on Friday, the Eagles won eight of them. Dunn teamed up with fellow senior John James to win two of the eight matches.

Freshmen Andrew Frisk and Riley Baver were not to be outdone; they also contributed two team wins to the Eagles’ total.

Saturday’s schedule was jam-packed with tennis: almost double the number of matches from the previous day. Sadly, Saturday brought less success for the Eagles than Friday. Only winning nine singles matches out of a possible 22, it proved to be a trying day for the Eagles.

“Overall, I did not feel like we played very well. We had many opportunities to step up and get significant wins and only converted on a few of them,” Coach Todd Helbling said.

However, Helbling is confident that his team will rebound and work on things that need to be tweaked.

“I am very excited about the future and our potential to continue to get better and be a very strong team this year. But this was an opportunity we let get away.”

One consolation that can be brought out of this tournament was the doubles play of the two aforementioned teams: Dunn and James, as well as Frisk and Baver. These two teams ended their tournaments with a perfect 3-0 record.

Of freshmen Frisk and Baver, Helbling said, “Both played very good singles matches … so that was encouraging.”

The team’s next task at hand is the ITA Division III Regional Championship. It begins October 4th, hosted here at Mary Washington for the second straight year.