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Men’s tennis serving up wins

By Yoshi Hill '16

April 25, 2013

In what has been a season of ups and downs, the Continentals emerged from this week more resolute and more confident. The men’s tennis team endured an arduous schedule of five games in eight days. This stretch began with a difficult loss to Amherst,  a team perennially ranked in the top 25 of Division III, on April 13 at the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House. Then, in a serious test of endurance, the Conts faced off against the Wesleyan Cardinals several hours later. Captain Jon Franzell ’13 dominated the opening match, winning in straight sets, and sophomore James Oliver recovered from losing the first set to win his match, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. First-year Ben Stern took command of his singles match from the very beginning and cruised to an easy victory. The meeting went down to the wire, but Hamilton enjoyed little luck in its doubles matches and the tight matchup ended in favor of Wesleyan, 5-4.

Despite two disheartening losses in one day, Coach Rob Barr commended the ability of his players to move on from negative results. He said, “Last year, a close loss would have taken the wind out of our sails. This year, we keep improving without letting the past get in the way.” The Continentals, not letting a disappointing day influence their play, backed up this sentiment by stringing back-to-back wins over the University of Rochester and St. Lawrence University. Against U of R at home, the Continentals pulled out wins in the top three singles matchups and the pairings of Jordan Petit ’13 and Oliver, and Franzel and Ian Antonoff ’16 took two of the three doubles games. The victory gave Franzel his 36th doubles victory, a program record. Reflecting on the game, Petit noted the “significant edge [we had] over our opponents due to our intensity and focus.” These attributes and impressive performances carried Hamilton to a comfortable 6-3 victory over the Yellow jackets.

Two days later, men’s tennis defended its home-court and won in a dominating manner against St. Lawrence, 7-2. Kolya Kerz ’13, Franzel, Oliver and Stern, all triumphed in straight sets in their singles matches. The contributions of Stern and Oliver have been invaluable this season, and captain Franzel commented that they “have both had a number of stand out matches this season. Both will be incredibly important to the team’s future.” The combination of Franzel and Antonoff continued to pay dividends as they made quick work of their competitors, 8-2. Kerz and sophomore Buck Reynolds glided to an 8-3 win in their match.

On April 21st, Hamilton returned to NESCAC competition against No. 21 Bates at the Gray Tennis Courts. Ben Stern ’16, anchoring the fifth singles spot for much of the season, provided the sole victory for Hamilton, 7-5, 6-1. The doubles pairing of Antonoff and Franzel pushed their opponents to the limit, but lost 9-7.  Emboldened by their recent successes, the Continentals fought to the very end, but ultimately succumbed, 8-1, against a very strong team.

With the season drawing to a close, Franzel and Petit have expressed confidence in the future of Hamilton’s men’s tennis team. They will be losing four seniors, but Petit said, “Our underclassmen have stood out tremendously. I see the team doing extremely well with the strong underclassmen and our coach Rob Barr.” Reiterating this view, Coach Barr stressed the constant improvement the team has achieved and is optimistic that current underclassmen Oliver, Antonoff and Stern will provide a solid core to build around.

The Continentals conclude their season April 27 against Connecticut College.

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