The men’s tennis team ended the weekend on a high note thanks to stellar performances across the board to improve to a 4-3 record overall after losing to St. Francis 3-4 and defeating Youngstown State 4-3. The team traveled to Monroeville, Pa. on Feb. 20 and Youngstown, Ohio on Feb. 21 for their weekend matches.
The Bison fought hard against St. Francis, winning three singles matches and two doubles, but ultimately fell short of a win. Max Kane ’18 and Daniel Wright ’18 were the winners of the No. 2 doubles match, trumping 6-3. The No. 3 doubles for the Bison fell to St. Francis, with Andrei Vitiuc ’19 and Max Haase ’19 losing 7-5. The No. 1 seeded doubles pair of Nick Bybel ’16 and Bryan Adams ’17 were also defeated 6-4 by their opponents. No. 1 seeded Bybel had his revenge upon his challenger in their singles match, beating him 6-3, 6-4. No. 4 Adams also trounced his opponent, defeating him 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. No. 2 Kane was defeated by his opponent 6-4, 6-2. The Bison’s No. 5 and No. 6 seeds, Vitiuc and Timber Erskine ’18, also lost their matches. Wright finished the Bison’s singles with a No. 3 seed and a win, defeating his opponent in a close first set of 7-6 (10-8), and finishing the second set 6-3.
Following the St. Francis loss, the Bison had to rally for their match against Youngstown State. Wright’s strategy to prepare for multiple matches is to take each match as it comes.
“For multiple matches, the key is determination. I want to be out on the court to do whatever it takes to come through,” Wright said.
Bybel added that learning from past mistakes is integral to the success of a long weekend.
“The biggest thing our team lacked on Saturday was energy on the court and off the court. On Sunday we knew we had to bring a lot of energy to the match and that is what made the difference in getting the win,” Bybel said.
And win they did, improving to 4-3 overall. No. 1 seeded Bybel and Adams, the reigning Patriot League Doubles Team of the Year, proved themselves worthy of the title with their 6-1 victory. Wright and Kane once again soundly beat their opponents 6-4. The Bison thrashed Youngstown in singles, with Bybel winning 7-6 (6), 7-5, Wright triumphing 6-3, 7-6 (5), and Vitiuc improving to 5-1 in the season with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win.
Bybel credited the team’s strength to being a big family.
“We all know that we aren’t playing for ourselves when we step on the court, we are playing for each other. That is what transforms a team from being a talented team, to becoming a championship contender,” Bybel said.
A Patriot League title is the end goal of the team, and Bybel described the title as being a goal ever since his freshman year.
“I am ready to leave it all out there for my team,” Bybel said.
The Bison look to compete against Old Dominion, Norfolk State, and William & Mary during a packed weekend spanning three days of matches on Feb. 26-28.