Kenyon too much for men’s tennis: Sports Shorts 2/14/06

By Joe Katz

It wasn’t all it could have been, but it was still a fine showing for men’s tennis.

The 25th-ranked Maroons (5–1) went 2–1 in weekend action, splitting their Saturday showdowns by beating 22nd-ranked league rival Carnegie Mellon (1–3) 4–2 and falling to 28th-ranked host Kenyon (4–0) 4–2 before rebounding with a 4–1 win over Denison (1–1) Sunday. Second-year Joseph Tchan was one of the most impressive performers over the weekend, gutting out tough singles wins against Kenyon and Denison.

A sweep would have been a major early-season accomplishment for the team, but it was not to be against a Kenyon team that stood just behind Chicago in both the national and regional rankings. Fourth-year Ward Bortz, currently ranked 8th in the region and 21st in Division III, pulled out a 6–4, 6–4 victory over 16th-regionally ranked third-year Sean Stewart at first singles, and Tchan came back after dropping the first set 6–7 to earn the win 6–1, 6–4 over third-year Alex Laporte to earn the Maroons a point at fourth. But second-years Sasha Deriy and Bharath Sithian and third-year Vivek Venkatarman were all well-handled by their opponents, and Kenyon first-year Justin Greenlee beat first-year Connor Farrell 6–4, 3–6, 6–4 to deny Chicago the tie. The deciding match lasted until almost 4:30 in the morning.

“I would have liked to beat Kenyon, but two of three isn’t bad,” Bortz said. “Right now I don’t see anything specific that we need to improve on. It is more that we just keep working hard at what we are doing.”

There was no time to mourn the defeat, but the Maroons didn’t seem to need any against the Big Red. Bortz rolled over first-year Jordan Buehler 6–1, 6–0 at first singles and Deriy suffered little trouble against first-year Jimmy Vogelsang at second. While Venkatarman dropped his first set, he recovered for the 4–6, 6–4, 6–2 win against second-year Randy Lofgren, and Tchan beat back a strong challenge from first-year James Davis 6–4, 7–5. While Denison won first and second doubles to take the point, it was not enough to pose a serious threat to Chicago.

“It was a very tough weekend,” Tchan said. “We beat two really good teams, and lost in a ridiculous match. This weekend showed that we can play and win in any situation.”

Results for the Carnegie match were not available as of press time.

The team will host UW-Whitewater (6–2) Saturday.