Men’s Tennis: College upsets South Carolina before falling to East Tennessee State

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The College dropped its first match of the season to East Tennessee State, but also beat South Carolina at home. COURTESY PHOTO / TRIBE ATHLETICS.

The William and Mary men ended the weekend with mixed results. Friday, the Tribe came out on top against No. 25 South Carolina, beating it 4-3 at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center. Sunday, the College traveled to Richmond, Virginia to take on East Tennessee State and ended up losing 4-1, with senior Alec Miller providing the lone singles victory.

Friday, the Tribe started off rocky, losing the doubles point for the fourth time this season. Miller and freshman Michael Chen were bested in the No. 1 spot, 6-4, and in the No. 2 spot senior Christian Cargill and freshman Louis Newman lost 6-3. The pairing of junior Tristan Bautil and senior Lars de Boer did not finish its doubles match, as South Carolina had already received the doubles point. The pair abandoned its No. 3 spot match at 5-5.

The College came back in singles play, where the Tribe and South Carolina traded off wins until the very end. Freshman Sebastian Quiros began the Tribe’s road back at the No. 6 spot, where he bested South Carolina’s Thomas Brown 6-1, 6-1. Miller lost at the No. 2 spot 6-4, 6-2. At the No. 4 spot, Newman beat Thomas Mayronne 6-3, 6-3. De Boer lost to the Gamecocks’ Yancy Davis at the No. 3 spot, 7-6, 6-3, putting the Gamecocks ahead 3-2.

The College’s comeback came down to the last two singles matches. Cargill, who had been named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week Feb. 7, defeated Gabriel Friedrich 7-6, 6-4 at the No. 1 spot, tying the match back up for the Tribe.

Cargill said that while the nod from the CAA wasn’t in his mind as he was playing, it increased his determination on the court.

“I think it’s one of those things where it gives you a little confidence going into the week,” Cargill said.

The final outcome of Friday’s match was determined by freshman Finbar Talcott at the No. 5 spot. He bested South Carolina’s Wood Benton in three, hard-fought sets — 6-7, 6-2, 6-2.

Following the match, Cargill said that the most important thing for the players is to translate the skills worked on in practice onto the court when it counts.

“I think the biggest thing here was trying to do what we do in practice,” Cargill said. “We’ve been working on serves and returns a lot, so I was really focusing on those first serves and getting those returns back in the court and it obviously paid dividends today.”

While head coach Jeff Kader said he was impressed with the team’s performance Friday, he believes a point where the Tribe can improve is with doubles.

“I think the doubles point is key,” Kader said. “We’re obviously playing very well in singles, but to always try and claw your way back in there after losing the doubles point is going to catch up to us eventually. So we need to make sure we’re continuing to go to work in doubles and getting better in that so we can hopefully play with that lead going into the singles.”

Kader said he thought that the doubles play would improve as teammates continued to play together and develop chemistry. He said that the players of different class years were already meshing well.

“The seniors playing in the top three spots are not only holding their own and winning but they’re pushing everyone every single day in practice,” Kader said. “It’s a really good team dynamic and they’re relying on the freshmen just as much as the freshmen are relying on the seniors, so it’s a good mix in there.”

Sunday, the Tribe’s winning streak was broken as it fell 4-1 to East Tennessee State.

Doubles was once again a weakness for the College. Cargill and Newman finished first at the No. 2 spot, defeated 6-4. At the No. 1 spot, Miller and Chen were bested 6-3. Bautil and de Boer were again unable to finish their doubles contest as the point had already been awarded to the Buccaneers and left it at 5-5.

The Tribe did not fare much better in singles. Newman was bested first at the No. 4 spot, 7-6, 6-2. Next, Cargill fell to East Tennessee State’s Robert Herrera in a hard-fought, three-set match, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 at the No. 1 spot. Miller provided the College its only win of the day when he beat the Buccaneers’ Juan Lugo 7-6, 7-6 at the No. 2 spot.

De Boer was the last member of the Tribe to finish his singles match, ultimately dropping his match at the No. 3 spot. Despite taking the first set 7-6, de Boer lost the final two sets 6-3, 7-6. Talcott and Quiros did not round out their sets, as the contest had already been decided. Talcott ended his No. 5-spot match against David Gonzalez 6-3, 3-0 and Quiros left his No. 6-spot match against Tasei Miyamoto at 7-6.

The College looks to return to the win column next weekend with back-to-back away matches. The men will travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan to face off against Western Michigan Feb. 17 and will take on Valparaiso in Indiana Feb. 18.

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