It was a tough day for the Patriot men’s tennis team as they fell to the No. 8 Lander Bearcats 7-2 in adverse conditions at the beginning of an important weekend of Peach Belt Conference (PBC) action.
The Bearcats took command of the action early on when they took two out of three doubles matchups. The only Patriot double victory came for Matt Astell and Paul Meuwissen when they managed to end the tiebreaker 7-4.
Single play began optimistically for the Patriots as freshman William Anth-Forsberg took the victory in his match at the No. 1 spot 6-4, 7-5. The victory brought the Patriots within two of the Bearcats with three remaining single matchups, yet a late flourish from the Bearcats was enough to see them win all of the three remaining games.
Mauricio Guerrero suffered defeat in straight sets at the No. 2 position along with Astell at No. 3, Meuwissen at No. 4 and Matheo Espinoza at No. 6. Hutchings tried his best to stave off Gabriel Couto at No. 5 but also suffered defeat.
The Patriot men now fall to a 4-6 overall record and 0-3 conference record but they are still at the beginning of the season.
It is still early in the season, but taking the victory in PBC play is going to be vital to any potential postseason push that the Patriots will be looking to secure. A series of two non-conference matches in mid-March will be helpful in potentially improving their overall record, but it is going to be essential to gain momentum in conference games to see the postseason.
The Bearcats are currently No. 8 in the country, giving the Patriots’ mostly new team a tough match. The Patriots lost a lot of seniors from the team at the end of the 2017 season, so it is new territory for many of the new players. New players on the team need time to adjust to their double pairings and the level of competition in this fiercely competitive region of the country. Older and more experienced players on the team such as Harry Wells, Guerrero, Henri Broeseler and Espinoza will have to guide the five new freshmen into a season that never lets up.