The Guilfordian

Filed under In Print, Sports

Men’s tennis poised for 2019 season

Last year’s Old Dominion Athletic Conference Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year Dave McCain returns for his ninth season as the Quakers’ head coach.

Guilford brings back a young roster from their 2018 campaign, where they earned the second seed in the ODAC Tournament. They fell to Hampden-Sydney College in the semifinal round.

This year, the Quakers ranked second, with one first-place vote, behind defending league champion Washington and Lee University in the ODAC’s annual preseason poll. Hampden-Sydney rounded out the top three.

The Generals of Washington and Lee have secured the ODAC Championship 37 times in the last 42 years. McCain spoke to their strengths.

“They are able to recruit great players,” McCain said. “The school has a real tennis history, an extraordinary academic program and a huge base of supporters. They are a major hurdle.”

Four players from last year’s squad return to the team, including junior Mason Robb and sophomore Elijah Gregory. Robb was a First-Team All-ODAC selection in singles and doubles a season ago. He went 15-6 at second singles and 17-5 at second doubles.

Gregory earned ODAC Rookie of the Year honors after compiling a 19-5 record at third singles and a 17-6 mark at second doubles.

Junior Kai Glass, who was a member of the 2017-2018 Sportsmanship Team, also comes back to the team this year.

Four-time All-ODAC first-singles and first-doubles selection Tate Godwin transferred from Guilford after two seasons to attend a music institution in California. Godwin gave up playing sports in order to pursue music studies at the conservatory.

“We lost our number one player,” McCain said. “But he’s following his dreams and is doing something he really wanted to do.”

The team also lost Graham Pearson ‘18 to graduation. Pearson was tabbed a second team all-ODAC pick at fourth singles in his senior season. The team is young, with no seniors on the roster.

Two transfers joined the team this year. Junior Joe Horne came to Guilford from Belmont Abbey College, and sophomore Tim Thompson joined the team, an alumnus from local Southwest Guilford High School. First-year Jay Montague will also see his collegiate debut.

“We’ve got a solid team,” McCain said. “In some ways, we have a better team than we had last year. But we’ve got a good, solid base (this season).”

McCain’s goal for this season is to remain a top-tier team in the conference. The team has finished in the top three teams of the league in the last two seasons, including an ODAC Championship appearance in 2017.

“If we finish somewhere in the top four, for me, that’s a very successful season,” McCain said.

The team’s first two games of the spring season were both cancelled due to rain. The Quakers were scheduled to take on Covenant College on Feb. 16 and Oglethorpe University on Feb. 17. Instead, Guilford will kick off the 2019 campaign with a home, ODAC contest against the University of Lynchburg on Friday, March 1. The Quakers routed the Hornets, 8-1, in their last matchup on April 9, 2017.

The Quakers face Washington and Lee five days later on Wednesday, March 6, in the two teams only meeting of the regular season. Guilford will play Hampden-Sydney in the second to last game of the regular season on April 14.

The Quakers seek revenge on the Tigers, who knocked them out of last year’s ODAC Tournament. Guilford topped them in last year’s regular season matchup, 5-4.

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