Squads begin month with dominant wins
Both Brandeis University tennis teams took the court this week, coming away with major upset victories over ranked competition. Each team has had a phenomenal start to the season, with the women entering the weekend ranked 21st and the men ranked 32nd in Division III. Their significant victories this weekend add to the momentum they have generated so far this spring and recall some of the program’s best seasons in recent memory.
The women’s tennis team added two victories to its spring season start this week. On the road, the Judges first defeated Bates College 6-3 on Friday and then made their way back to the Bay State for another 6-3 win over the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Friday’s effort was led by singles dominance, with the team winning five of six singles matches. This winning percentage in singles was their second best of the season, surpassed only by their 9-0 shutout over California Lutheran University. These singles victories were highlighted by the commanding performances of Sabrina Ross Neergaard ’20, captain Haley Cohen ’18, Keren Khromchenko ’19 and Olivia Leavitt ’19, all of whom took their matches in straight sets.
The team continued its winning ways the next morning, taking on No. 17 MIT. With their 6-3 win, the Judges came away with the upset over their fellow top-25 opponent. The team took two of three in doubles and four of six in singles for its fourth consecutive road win. Neergaard again led the way, picking up wins in doubles with partner Leavitt and then securing a singles victory against her fellow number one position opponent. This was the team’s first win against MIT since 2012, and leaves them with a 6-1 record. Not since the 2011-2012 season has the team started off this well, when they began the season 7-0 on their way to a tremendous 15-5 record. Their current No. 21 ranking is the program’s highest since that incredible season.
The Brandeis men’s tennis team dominated Saturday afternoon, defeating 30th-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology by a score of 8-1. This margin of victory matches its wins at the California Institute of Technology and Whittier College earlier this spring. However, neither of those opponents was a top-30 Division III team, making this the Judges’ most impressive win of the young season. The Brandeis men won two of the three doubles matches and then swept Stevens in singles. Remarkably, this was the first time that each doubles tandem has played together in competition this spring season. On the singles front, the team’s overall success was the result of a number of close matches. The competition between Brandeis’ Michael Arguello ’17 and junior Danny Polk of Stevens Tech was extremely hard-fought, with both players at the number one position on their respective teams. Ultimately, Arguello was able to pull out the win, taking the first and third sets by means of the tiebreaker.
This year the team competed in four tournaments during the fall semester, compared to only two in the 2013-2014 season. According to David Reinharz ’19, this extra experience has mattered. “We were able to see many of the teams who we would later on play, and it helped to set the bar for the upcoming competition,” said Reinharz.
Both teams are likely to enter next week with well deserved jumps in the Division III rankings as they begin conference play.