With a 5-5 overall spread following Winter break and a 2-2 Capital Athletic Conference record, men’s tennis continues to hold strong in the 2009-2010 double-semester season.
The team began the season at the Virginia Wesleyan College Beach Shootout with a dominating 8-1 victory over Chowan College. The Seahawks went 6-0 in singles and 2-1 in doubles to take the non-conference victory. Following a 6-3 win over Virginia Wesleyan College and a 9-0 shut-out victory during the same event against Southern Virginia University, the athletes were left with a 3-0 spread on Sept. 19.
The Seahawks continued the winning streak, but not after suffering a close 5-4 loss to Catholic University the following Friday, as the Cardinals took the winning singles competition against the Seahawks for their first game on the Somerset courts.
The College recovered strongly the following Saturday with a 7-2 win over Penn State University, Abington, dominating the singles and doubles competitions 5-1 and 2-1, respectively. Following that, an even more impressive 8-1 victory against the Shenandoah University Hornets restored the College to a two-streak win, taking all doubles competitions and all but one singles match on Oct. 9.
Despite the comeback, the team ended the Fall portion of the season 5-2, taking a 6-3 loss to Susquehanna University after a 5-1 singles defeat.
While 2009 ended on a sour note, the Seahawks re-emerged in 2010 with a 9-0 shut-out victory against Lancaster Bible College, as the men dominated all singles and doubles competitions with three perfect-score matches to begin the Spring portion of the season 1-0.
From there, the team alternated between wins and losses during the next six meets. A loss against the University of Maryland Terrapins, 6-0, was followed by an 8-1 conference home-game win over Wesley College, in turn followed by a conference loss against Salisbury University on Mar. 27, 7-2.
“It has been my charge to schedule tougher teams to play since starting as the head coach,” said Coach Derek Sabedra, now in his fourth season as the Seahawks’ coach. “As the season progresses, they get better.”
Continuing the alternating pattern of wins and losses, the team won 5-4 against the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore and lost harshly against the Washington College Sho’men, 9-0, on Mar. 30.
The team’s 5-4 win against the University of the District of Columbia at the East Potomac Tennis Center and subsequent 6-3 win over Stevenson University ended the pattern with a winning streak, leaving the Seahawks with a 10-5 overall spread and 2-1 conference record. However, the team’s post-Winter record returned to an even number of wins and losses with a two-loss streak against Hood College (5-4) and Bridgewater College (8-1) on Apr. 7 and 10, respectively. Losing a conference game against Hood, the Seahawks were balanced in their conference spread as well, now standing 2-2.
While holding a strong performance in the Spring season, the men’s team seems to have suffered an overall setback compared to the Fall triumph, similar to other outside-playing teams this semester that have also taken losses influenced by weather issues. “With so much travel time and weather issues, we tend to mostly play matches rather than practice for the matches,” said Sabedra.
“Our season is going very well,” said sophomore athlete Robert Bourdon. “[However,] we’ve had some close matches that we ended up losing that probably could have been wins.”
Despite the setbacks, the team still holds strong during and after competitions and practices. “The team has bonded very well both on and off the court,” said sophomore player Thomas Hoesman. “We had a lot of new players in the Fall, and everything’s come together very nicely for the Spring.”
Combined with more weather-friendly practices, the team is looking to the rest of the season optimistically. “The team is still on track to have one of the winningest seasons on record,” said Bourdon.
“In the beginning of the season, the men have had one goal in mind: to garner the most season wins in history,” said Sabedra. “The players this year are on a mission, and I hope that we will succeed.”
Men’s tennis plays Mary Washington College on Apr. 13 for home-game, conference action, followed by an away game against Lincoln University on Thursday.