Lakers remain hopeful in defeat

The Oswego State men’s tennis team lost to the Elmira College Soaring Eagles inside Romney Fieldhouse on Wednesday evening, 6-3.

The Lakers are in the midst of one of their best seasons in a very long time. They have already reached a win total of six, which is the most wins in the last nine seasons for the program. Now, with only a few matches left, Oswego State is looking to finish over .500, a goal that was set by head coach Robert Friske at the beginning of the season. This match against Elmira was one that the team knew was going to be a very competitive.

“The biggest match we’ve got, for the entire year, this is the match we’ve been all looking forward to, I’m glad I got the opportunity to be playing,” said freshman John Stanford.

This is also a match that, going in, the team thought would be their last match at home, or even could be the last match of the year due to continuous postponements with Keuka College. But, then came the announcement during the match that the Lakers would be playing a doubleheader with the Storm on Monday; however, the focus remained on the task at hand.

The doubles teams hit the courts first with senior Ben Weiss and junior Mike Owens losing to Elmira’s Keith Bujak and Sam Pine, 8-3 in the first doubles. Then, in second doubles, freshman Spencer Thorn and junior Tim Van Hine lost to Elmira’s Austin Mansell and Satchal Waters, 8-2.

Seniors Sam Carges and Max McCune picked up the lone victory for the Lakers on the doubles side with a 8-1 win over Elmira’s Neal Statts and Scott Ferron in the third doubles matchup.

Since this is the last season that both Carges and McCune will be playing for Oswego State, they shared their thoughts on how they have seen the program improve over the years, and the memories they have made here.

“I love playing tennis, especially this year with it being so serious,” Carges said. “Being its our senior year and having the most wins we’ve had in nine years, it’s awesome. Right now is the best I’ve ever been at tennis and I love it.”

“I started my sophomore year and, from coming into it and not knowing what this program was about, I was wondering ‘Is this team legit?’ But. from that point to now, I feel like we’ve come so far,” McCune said. “For the memories, all the road trips with all the guys, it’s such a great group of guys.”

Going into the singles, Friske still had high hopes for his team to pull out the victory, even if it was 2-1 Elmira.

“I believe in our team. I believe even though were down 1-2 right now, I think singles are going to be competitive and hopefully with a little bit of luck we can come out on the positive side of things,” Friske said.

The singles lineup looked a little different than usual with Owens playing in the first singles spot. He lost (6-1,6-0) against Bujak.

Owens described how the match went for him personally.

“I played well in the first set, but in the second I started hitting too many unforced errors unfortunately,” Owens said

In second singles, Weiss lost to Pine (6-2,6-1). The senior described the best memories he has made while playing tennis for Oswego State.

“Just to see the overall improvement from freshman to senior year as a team is a great memory,” Weiss said. “Just being apart of a team. From the four years in high school to the four years in college, you can’t beat that.”

Moving along to the other singles matchups, Van Hine lost to Mansell (6-2, 6-2) in third singles. McCune lost to Waters (6-2, 6-1) in fourth singles. The Lakers were then able to pull out the final two singles matches with Thorn winning (6-1, 6-1) over Ferron in fifth singles and then, finally, with Stanford winning (6-1 ,6-3) over Statts in sixth singles.

With the loss to the Soaring Eagles, Oswego State drops its record to 6-5. But ,considering that the Lakers lost to Elmira by a score of 8-1 last year, Friske took away many positives from the match.

“We performed better this time than last time we played them, and that’s what a coach wants to see,” Friske said. “The guys played well today, Elmira is a tough team and I think we’re ready to end this season on a good note.”

The Lakers finish their season on Monday at home against Keuka College in a doubleheader.