Squads travel to UAA tournament
On April 21, en route from a road match against local rival Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the men's and women's tennis teams were on two different positions.
The No. 30 men's squad surged from a 3-1 deficit in singles play to take down the Engineers in a critical 6-3 victory. The No. 22 women's team only mustered one point against MIT in an 8-1 loss, snapping a six-match winning streak.
The men looked to build upon their success and the women sought to shake off defeat at the University Athletic Association Championships in Orlando, Fla. that weekend.
One week later, on the flight back to Waltham, the squads were at odds once again. The men salvaged a seventh place finish in the UAA, and an 11-10 record, with a commanding 7-2 victory over the University of Rochester. The women dropped to sixth place, and an 11-11 finish, after suffering a 5-4 loss to Case Western Reserve University.
"Against Rochester, we were all just in better shape and wanted it more than them," said Brian Granoff '17. "Their guys were cramping up but we were all fine and played much better than them all around."
Granoff and Danny Lubarsky '16 clinched an 8-4 win at the No. 1 slot, setting the tone for the Judges. Alec Siegel '15 and Michael Arguello '17 offset a tight 8-6 loss at the No. 3 with a nail-biting 9-8 victory of their own.
Michael Secular '15 and Granoff rolled over their opponents in straight sets, leaving the decisive match to Lubarsky.
He delivered in the No. 3 slot with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Rochester junior Julian Danko. Ryan Bunis '17, for added measure, rode his way to the end of the season on a 10-match winning streak, securing a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) victory.
Just a day earlier, the men almost avoided the seventh-place match with Rochester, falling just short in a 5-4 defeat to the University of Chicago for fifth place. The Maroons raced out to two straight victories on doubles courts.
However, in singles play the Judges shined. Secular topped Chicago freshman Max Hawkins 7-5, 6-2 at the No. 6 court, laying the foundation for three critical Brandeis wins.
Granoff noted that the shortcomings in doubles play primarily led to the Judges' downfall.
"Against Chicago, the doubles was the huge difference," he said. "We went down 3-0 after doubles and just couldn't win five out of the six singles matches."
The men, however, improved greatly after suffering an 8-1 defeat to the defending UAA champion Washington University in St. Louis at the outset of the tournament. Bunis earned the lone point for the Judges, maintaining his winning streak with a 6-0, 3-6, 10-16 triumph over WashU senior Tim Noack.
The women's squad followed a different trajectory on their UAA path this weekend. On Sunday, in the fifth-place match against Case, the Judges dropped their first two doubles matches before Dylan Schlesinger '15 and Simone Vandroff '15 attained a 9-8 victory in the No. 3 court.
However, the women weren't going home without a fight. Carley Cooke '15 improved to 8-0 at the No. 1 court in UAA play with a 6-2, 6-2 straight-sets victory over junior Marianne Bonnano. Allyson Bernstein '14 and Emily Eska '16 took control from there, winning at the No. 2 and No. 4 spots, respectively. Yet, Case proceeded to win the next two matches to knock off the Judges.
It was a different story for the women against New York University on Saturday. The senior duo of Bernstein and Marissa Lazar '14 secured an 8-4 victory at the No. 2 for their ninth win in 10 matches while Vandroff and Schlesinger cruised to an 8-1 win. In singles, the women did not even drop a set, ensuring an 8-1 victory over NYU.
In the quarterfinal match against fourth-seeded Chicago, the women got to a slow start, dropping the No. 2 match by an 8-4 margin.
Schlesinger and Vandroff came close to drawing a tie with the Maroons, but ultimately, fell victim to a break of serve, dropping a 9-7 match to sophomore Stephanie Lee and junior Kelsey McGillis.
Cooke and Roberta Bergstein '14 came even closer than that, falling just short after a 7-2 tiebreaker loss to the junior duo of Megan Tang and Tiffany Chen.
Cooke avenged her defeat to Tang, the top-ranked player in the Central Region, with a 6-4, 6-1 win in straight sets in singles play. However, the rest of the team then experienced a rut, dropping the next three matches. Vandroff and Maya Vasser '16 won at the No. 5 and No. 6 courts, but ultimately, could not win it for the Judges.
The squads may have concluded their season, but as Granoff noted, expectations are high for squads that will have plenty of experience next year.
"Next year, we expect to do even better and be nationally ranked...with experience, we hope to build off of our lessons and end in the top four at the UAA to hopefully make NCAA's," he said.