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Tennis: Squads feel the heat with a winless stretch

By Josh Asen
On April 23, 2012

Despite a three-match winning streak and a No. 20 national ranking, the women's tennis squad could not sustain its momentum, falling in a 6-3 loss to No. 19 Wellesley College last Saturday.

The men's squad, which has now lost four consecutive matches, suffered a 10-5 loss to Division I Bryant University last Friday and a 5-4 loss to No. 24 Trinity College last Tuesday.

In a matchup of ranked squads, the Judges trailed 2-1 after doubles play against Wellesley.

The No. 1 doubles team of Carley Cooke '15 and Faith Broderick '13 won their match 9-7, while Allyson Bernstein '14 and Roberta Bergstein '14 at No. 2 succumbed to a 8-5 loss. Simone Vandroff '15 and Dylan Schlesinger '15 at No. 3 also dropped an 8-2 match.

In singles play, only Broderick and Bergstein won their matches. At No. 2, Broderick won in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, while Bergstein, who lost 6-1 in the first set of her No. 6 match, came back to capture the final two sets 6-4, 6-0.

 

Vandroff and Alexa Katz '14 struggled in their singles matches, though, losing in straight sets.

Despite the loss, coach Ben Lamanna noted how close several of the individual matches were.

"We were down 4-2 in the match at one point and came back pretty well," Lamanna said.

"The team fights hard and supports each other well. We were just a few points from winning 5-4, and we ended up losing. It came down to adjustments at the end that we didn't make that Wellesley girls made."

Before the loss to Wellesley, the Judges defeated the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 6-3 on the road last Tuesday.

The Judges trailed 2-1 after doubles play, even with Schlesinger and Vandroff winning at No. 3, but were still able to rally back to take the match.

Cooke, Broderick, Bernstein, Bergstein and Katz all defeated their opponents in straights sets,

Vandroff, on the other hand, was the only player to lose in singles. She would ultimately lose in a super-set tiebreaker 10-6.

"The girls played great in singles and just moved the ball around well," Lamanna said.

"They fought really hard and made a lot of balls. They were just one ball tougher."

Against Bryant University, the men's team played in 15 matches, 10 of which were singles matches.

This was an unusual format, given tennis meets are usually composed of six singles and three doubles matches. However, both coaches wanted to get more players involved on Senior Day.

If the match had been played with customary rules, the Judges would have defeated Bryant 5-4, but the squad had to use players who do not often play in matches, resulting in a final 10-5 defeat.

"Some matchups were bad in the spots we lost, I think, but I think we played well as a whole," Josh Jordan '13 said.

Jordan, Michael Secular '15 and Ben Fine '15 were the only Judges to win their singles matches against Bryant.

In doubles action, the No. 1 squad of Jordan and Steven Milo '13 and the No. 2 duo of Secular and Alex Siegel '15 bested their opponents by scores of 8-4.

However, the three remaining doubles teams could not match the teammates' successes, failing to secure a point with a win.

There were also some appearances from athletes on the team who are not often featured on the roster.

In the matches featuring Brandeis players not typically written into the lineups, there were a couple of close calls.

In doubles action, Evan Berner '14 and Matthew Zuckerman '14 suffered a 9-7 defeat at No. 4. Zuckerman dropped a 7-5, 6-3 loss at No. 8 in singles play, while Jon Ostrowsky '13 dropped a tiebreaker in the first set at No. 9, 7-6 (7-1), 6-0.

In the squad's 5-4 loss to Trinity, the Judges won all three doubles matches and looked to take the match, needing only to win two more singles matches.

However, Ezra Bernstein '11 MA '12 was the only player to win in singles, bringing the team just short of victory.

Secular and Siegal had extremely close losses that could have truly gone either way. Siegel fell, 7-5, in the first set at No. 3 before dropping a 6-1 decision to Jugal Marfatia of the Bantams in the second. At No. 5, Secular took Ned Mandel to a tiebreaker in the second before losing 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

"We performed really well in doubles and we took all three, and that was a very good start," Jordan said.

"Singles was a matter of matchups. They're very deep, and I think we could have played better individually, but they're very deep and very good at singles."

The women's squad plays at home today against Trinity College on Senior Day before competing alongside the men at the University Athletic Association Championships from April 27 to 29 in Orlando, Fla.

Steven Milo '13 noted that to succeed in the UAAs, the men's squad will have to improve its singles play.

"We need to play big doubles, and we need to believe and have confidence in our singles play because I feel we have lacked that in some of our matches this year," he said.

Lamanna echoed that sentiment, stating the women's squad must capitalize on doubles play in their matches at UAAs.

"It's going to come down to being up after doubles, and we're real capable of doing it," Lamanna said about the women's squad.

"I really do think we need to play tough in those big moments."


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