Men’s tennis: Tribe sees rare home-opener loss to Princeton, 5-2

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Courtesy image / TRIBE ATHLETICS

William and Mary looked to start off its first home match strong Feb. 2, as it hosted Ivy League opponent Princeton. The Tribe attempted to continue a winning streak of 10-straight in home openers, all under head coach Jeff Kader. Unfortunately for the College (0-4), the streak would end with a 5-2 loss to Princeton (4-1).

This match was the first of the Tribe’s four home matches against the Ivy League in February. The Tribe started its season 0-3 after a tough opening schedule. It faced Virginia, Louisville and Florida, three-straight power conference opponents. The last time the Tribe played three power conference opponents in a row was 2009; the last time it happened at the beginning of the season was 1993.

The doubles set featured sophomore Finbar Talcott and senior Tristan Bautil at the No. 1 spot, squaring off with Princeton’s Damian Rodriguez and Ryan Seggerman. At the No. 2 slot, junior Brenden Volk and sophomore Chen Ruo faced Karl Poling and Justin Barki. At the No. 3 spot, freshman Danny Pellerito and sophomore Sebastian Quiros would play Payton Holden and Bill Duo. Pellerito and Quiros struggled in a 6-2 loss, while the two other matches would feature more competitive bouts. Both Talcott and Bautil and Chen and Volk would lose by 6-4 margins. Princeton claimed the first point of the match with a 3-0 doubles sweep.

Singles matches followed, and in the No. 6 spot, Pellerito would face Duo, winning both sets 6-1 and ending the first singles match of the day. The No. 1 spot would feature Volk and Seggerman, where Volk won a comprehensive first set, 6-1. In his second set, Volk faced more adversity, but his early pressure and battling at the net ultimately overcame Seggerman, 7-5, giving the Tribe its first point of the day, 2-1. The contest at the No. 3 spot featured a first set tiebreaker, where Poling would overcome Quiros, gaining Princeton another 7-6 set win. In the second set, Poling wouldn’t be able to recover, and lost 6-2. But he bounced back to win the match as Princeton took a 3-1 lead overall.

Chen and Davey Roberts played at the No. 4. Roberts took a 6-2 victory in the initial set, but Chen brought the pressure back with a 6-3 victory in the second, taking the match to a third. At the No. 2 spot, Talcott and Rodriguez had a competitive first set, coming down to a tiebreaker won by Rodriguez, giving him the first set 7-6. The second set would be another neck and neck match, but ultimately Rodriguez would close it out 6-4 as well, clinching a Princeton win.

Chen rallied from a 1-5 deficit in the third set at the No. 4 slot, bringing the score to 5-5. Roberts would sweep the 11th game to gain a 6-5 lead. The 12th went to a deuce where Chen would ultimately fall, giving Peters the set 7-5 and Princeton a 5-1 lead.

The No. 5 spot featured freshman Jack Kelly and Will Peters. Kelly took the first set 6-4, taking hold of the match with a strong forehand. The second set went to a tiebreaker, where Peters had a 7-6 victory. Kelly and Peters played their third set after the match was decided, and Kelly took it 6-3, giving the Tribe another point to end the day with a 5-2 loss.

This match places the Tribe 0-4 to start the season, and breaks their streak of success in home openers. Feb. 10, the Tribe will host Brown, its next Ivy League opponent.