Hopkins men’s tennis took on the Washington and Lee University Generals on Sunday. The bout ended in quite the triumph for the Jays who secured a perfect record in doubles and a near-perfect record in singles.
The doubles matches went without a hitch for the Jays. Senior Colin Muraika and senior Scott Thygesen set the tone for the day with a very strong first match, ending their game against freshman Bobby Neuner and junior Mitchell Thomas 8-1.
Next up was sophomore Vishnu Joshi and junior Vik Vasan versus freshman Alex Fedor and sophomore Tye Loan. Not to be outdone by their elders, they wrapped up their match 8-5.
Juniors Joe Cartledge and Austin Gu then took it all the way home against freshman John Rudden and junior Harry Shepherd, matching Joshi and Vasan’s 8-5 win.
Despite the strong result, the path to victory was not an easy one for the team. In preparing for their opponents, the team was forced to overcome quite a few obstacles in the process. Joshi commented on these hurdles.
“We have a pretty rough practice schedule while it’s still cold outside — typically, we can only practice from 9-11 at night at tennis courts 20 minutes away, so it can be pretty grueling physically and mentally. We just had to commit to going to as many as we could and make the most of our time,” Joshi said.
He explained how they prepared for the match.
“A few days leading up to the match, we played some competitive practice matches and that really helped us to pick up our intensity levels and find out where we were heading into Sunday,” Joshi said. “The day of, we had a lot of issues with the rain, but we all were able to stay focused in the end and get the job done.”
The hard work and dedication certainly paid off. Though not as seamless as the doubles rounds, the singles matches were dominated by the Jays as well. It was Gu who started off the victory march this time, beating Thomas 6-4, 6-4. Sophomore Eric Yoo hit the singles scene and handled his opponent, Loan, as well 6-2, 6-4. Joshi and Shepherd went head to head, but Joshi took yet another match for the Jays 6-4, 7-6. The win streak was briefly cut short when Thygesen lost a tight match against Fedor 6-7, 6-3, 0-1.
Junior Cody Kim suffered the same fate in a similar back-and-forth match with Neuner, taking the first set 6-4, flip-flopping the second 4-6 and then just missing the tie breaker 0-1.
Junior Aaron Carey would not let the day end in a loss, however. Ending the day on a high note, he battled sophomore Noah Tapp for the first set, grabbing it at 7-6. Taking the next and final set of the day 7-5, the Jays ended the day with a solid win against the Generals, 7-2.
Hopkins takes away more than just a sense of victory from the weekend. Joshi talked about his mindset moving forward.
“I think going into the weekend we saw it as a great opportunity to see where we stood individually and as a team,” Joshi commented. “A few weeks ago, we had a pretty rough loss. Ever since, we have been trying to work on our intensity early in matches and Scott [Thygesen], our captain, does a really good job of reminding us of that. I think this match showed us that we have all the right pieces to be contenders to go deep, and we just have to keep working hard to be consistent throughout the season.”
Hopkins hits the courts again on Saturday, March 23. against the Goucher College Gophers on their home court for another non-Conference match. The action will begin at 4 p.m.