SWARTHMORE, PA - The Ursinus College Men's Tennis team saw their season end today, as they were beaten 5-1 at Swarthmore in the first round of the Centennial Conference playoffs.
The loss ended a record setting year for the Bears (14-7). The 14 wins represent a program record for victories in a season, and it was the first-ever post season appearance for the men's tennis team.
"To say I am proud of this team is an understatement," remarked head coach Pete Smith. "We came out today and played well - but even more importantly, we played with a tremendous amount of heart. I am truly honored to be coaching these kids. Despite the loss, I felt like this was a great day for Ursinus Men's Tennis."
The Bears came out aggressive in the doubles portion of the match, going shot for shot with the Garnet (11-9). At third doubles, Dylan Marsh and Tyler Arsenault got an early break of serve and took a 4-2 lead. But the Garnet third doubles tandem of Max Kaye and Preston Poon rallied, fighting back for an 8-4 victory. The Garnet had stuck first for a 1-0 lead.
At first doubles, Evan Stutchin and Logan Metcalf-Kelly started slowly, falling behind 4-0. But the Bears duo wouldn't quit, coming back to win four of the next five game to trail only 4-5. But Swarthmore's first doubles team of Anthony Collard and Mailk Mubeen were too strong down the stretch, pulling away for an 8-4 victory. Down 2-0, the Bears needed a win badly from the second doubles team of Evan Lord and Alex Elbogen.
Right on cue, Lord and Elbogen delivered in a big way. Serving with amazing efficiency, they played their best match of the season in a dominating 8-3 win. They faced only a handful of break points in the match and never trailed, keeping the Bears alive in the match, only down 2-1.
"Evan and Alex have played some pretty good doubles this year," Smith observed. "But today, they were on a whole different level. That was a lights out performance. You have to be playing some pretty elite tennis to come in and beat any Swarthmore doubles team 8-3 on their home court. That was impressive."
In singles, Swarthmore's experience and depth proved to be too much for the Bears. The Garnet secured wins at third, fourth and fifth singles to clinch the match with an insurmountable 5-1 lead. As per NCAA rules, the match was stopped when the outcome was decided.
"I give all the credit to Swarthmore. There is a reason they are ranked 26th in the country. They are very talented and extremely well-coached. But I thought we showed that we belonged - we acquitted ourselves very well. When they stopped the match, Evan (Stutchin) was locked at 5-5 in the first set at number one singles, and Logan (Metcalf-Kelly) was up a set at sixth singles. Those guys were playing some outstanding tennis."
"It was a great year. We survived Matt Hope's injury and came together to do some really special things, on both a team and individual level. Remember, we have no seniors on this team. If we can get everyone healthy and continue to improve, I believe the future of Ursinus Men's Tennis looks very bright."