By ANTHONY BENSON
On Saturday, April 7, 2018, the University of Mary Washington tennis team hosted Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon University, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has the ninth best tennis team in the nation in DIII, outranking Mary Washington’s team by ten places, who sit at nineteenth place. The Carnegie Mellon Men’s Tennis Team would win the match against the Eagles, defeating them with a score of 6-3, and CMU’s Women’s Tennis Team won against UMW’s Women’s team by a closer margin of 5-4.
Going into the matches, the Eagles were optimistic, although they understood the difficult challenge that they would encounter against a team ranked as highly as Carnegie Mellon. An added challenge that both of the teams faced was that the matches had to be moved indoors due to inclement weather when they had originally been planned to be played outdoors. This slowed down the speed of the matches, since there are only six indoor courts in the tennis center, as opposed to the twelve outdoor courts.
Emily Bowerman, a freshman on the women’s tennis team, commented on their match against Carnegie Mellon, saying, “The top twenty teams always are competitive between each other.” Bowerman added, “Even though there isn’t an official rivalry between us, there is still a bit of a rivalry there.” When speaking about the team’s preparation for the match, Bowerman said, “I am confident going into the series.
Practice has been good, and the team has put their hearts into preparing for the match.” Bowerman also commented on the fan support, saying that “There is always a good parent turnout, although there usually isn’t as much fan support,” and she also said that their alumni day was a particularly good day for fan turnout.
Cole Tecce, a freshman for the men’s tennis team, commented on their opponents on the day, Carnegie Mellon, saying, “These guys are number nine in the country, and they are really good”, adding “I’ve seen all of these guys play before, and they want to win this as much as we do.”
Tecce also commented on the games being moved indoors, and when asked whether or not it made a difference to play indoors, said “The courts are definitely faster, and the ball goes around the court much faster than outdoors.” Tecce also added, “I don’t think it’ll change things that much, because home court advantage is home court advantage.”
After the match, the Men’s Tennis Coach and Director of Tennis, Todd Helbling, stayed confident in his players and expressed that there were positives to take from the match. “We lost the match 6-3 to the number nine team in the nation, Carnegie Mellon.
I thought we played very well.” Helbling said. “In singles, Matt Miles played the number two player in the nation and went the distance, and then we lost two other really close matches and won one tight one.”
Looking forward towards the rest of the season, Helbling said that their goals for the season remain the same after the defeat to Carnegie Mellon.
“We still have several big matches against nationally ranked teams and then CAC finals. If we keep working hard, we expect to play our best in the CAC’s and try to win the championship. We have had a great year to date and we plan to keep working and finish strong.”
The result against Carnegie Mellon saw the Men’s Tennis Team’s eight game winning streak come to an end, and the Women’s Tennis Team lost after a four-game winning streak. Now, the Men’s Tennis Team sits at a record of 15-3, and the Women’s Tennis Team currently has a record of 10-4.
The Men and Women’s tennis teams will look to bounce back in their next matches, with the men facing off against Franklin and Marshall on April 14, and the women facing St. Mary’s in Maryland on April 15.