Lakers drop first match of spring

The Oswego State men’s tennis team started its 2014 regular season this afternoon with a match against the Alfred University Saxons inside Romney Fieldhouse. The Lakers lost the match, 7-2.

Even with the opening lost, head coach Bob Friske is looking forward to the season with this group of guys.

“They’re committed, determined,” Friske said. “We’ve even had to make some cuts, which is something we never had to do in the past…we might not win every match, but we’ll be competitive in every match.”

To start the afternoon, the doubles team hit the courts first. The way men’s collegiate tennis works, there are three pairs of doubles teams and six singles players who compete for each squad. Whichever team wins the most matches of the total nine is the winner.

The doubles teams play only one pro set, which means whichever team is the first to win eight games, is the winner of the match.

In first doubles, freshman John Stanford and junior Mike Owens went up against the Saxons’ Connor Doud and Peter Benoit. The Alfred pair won the match 8-2, but Stanford was positive about his pair’s performance.

“We played our game, they were just better,” Stanford said.

In the other two doubles matches, freshman Spencer Thorn and junior Tim Van Hine, Jr., representing Oswego State’s second doubles team, lost their match 2-8 at the hands of Mike Graham and Stefan Nonnenmann, while the third Lakers’ doubles team, seniors Max McCune and Sam Carges, won 8-2 over Matt Baloga and Dalton Divine.

An interesting factor when playing at Romney is the surface is synthetic grass, which took some of the players time to get used to.

“It’s all about the spin because this surface is so grippy, it plays nothing like grass…it’s a definite home field advantage,” Stanford said.

“It’s slow pace,” Owens said. “When you think grass, you think it’s a fast pace, but it’s nothing like it…It’s similar to clay, except you can’t slide. But it slows down the ball quite a bit.”

After the doubles matches ended, the singles came onto the court starting out with Oswego State’s first singles player junior Sam Moores going up against Alfred’s Doud. In singles, the match is based on best two sets out of three.

Moores won his first game of the match down 5-0 in the second set, but Doud took the match by a final scoreline of 6-0, 6-1.

The Saxons went on to grab the next three singles matches of the afternoon. In second singles, the Lakers’ Ben Weiss lost to Benoit, 6-0, 6-3. Then in third singles, Van Hine lost a close one to Graham, 7-5, 7-5. The final victory of the streak for Alfred was completed by Nonnenmann who took down Oswego State’s McCune, 6-1, 6-2  in the fourth singles matchup.

Thorn won the lone match of singles play for Oswego State 6-1, 6-3 over Evan Haskins in fifth singles before the Lakers tasted defeat in the final match, sixth  singles, as  junior Scott Mohr fell in three sets, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

The final overall score of the match was identical to that of the contest between these teams when they faced off at Alfred back in September, a match also won by the Saxons 7-2. According to the team, Alfred is a top competitor for the Lakers and always a hard team to face.

Friske believes this is a season that could lead to some really great things.

“I’m hoping for an over .500 record with this team, which would be monumental for this program.”

The Lakers will be back in action on Mar. 13 at home against Elmira College.