Men’s tennis seeing early up-and-down season

Guilford College’s men’s tennis team has kept an even pace through the start of the season.

The team has a 3-3 overall record and is 2-2 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).

“We’re doing fine,” said head coach Dave McCain. “We’re still going to have a real good season but just not as good as I wanted.”

After the first three matches of the season got cancelled due to rain, the team began the season against 37-time ODAC champions Washington and Lee University. Although the match ended 8-1 in favor of Washington and Lee, the games were close.

The Quakers’ lone win in the set came at #2 singles where sophomore Elijah Gregory beat Mitchell Thomas after Thomas retired after one set.

Junior Mason Robb took Alex Fedor to the third set at first singles (6-2, 6-7, 10-7).

Gregory and Robb came close to beating Thomas and Bobby Neuner at #1 doubles, taking it to 8-7 and then 7-3 in the tiebreaker.

“We could’ve if we won the tiebreakers ended up 5-4 with them instead of 8-1,” said McCain.

The team bounced back from the loss with 9-0 victories over ODAC opponents Ferrum College and Shenandoah University.

After their number one singles and doubles player Tate Godwin transferred before the season, the Quakers have had Robb step into his place and put up good performances.

“He’s really stepped up and he’s playing really, really well,” McCain said.

On March 23 the Quakers dropped a 5-4 match to Virginia Wesleyan for their second conference loss. Guilford won two doubles games and two single games. Robb was  part of the winning doubles at number one and won 6-0, 6-3 at first singles. Junior Joe Horne picked up victories at second doubles and #4 singles. 

First-year Jay Montague and Horne have stepped into their roles this season.

“Both of them have really stepped up and been really big players on the team, that’s been a big highlight,” McCain said.

The Quakers do not have depth this year, with only six players on the team. To play a complete match, the team needs all six to play. McCain hopes to increase the roster to 10 next year with bringing in four new student-athletes to join his returners.

“It also helps push everybody else because your spot is not for sure, you’ve got to keep competing well in order to keep your spot on the team and the idea is to stay on in the top six for everybody,” said McCain. “So if there’s eight really good players they’re all pushing each other to make each other better.”

The Quakers currently are sitting in 7th place in the conference. With the early season rainouts. some teams have played only two conference matches while others have played up to six.

“We were preseason number two in the conference, right now I would love to be in the top four and I think that’s possible,” McCain said. “We probably have to win the rest of the matches to do it.”

The past two years the team has finished second in the conference in the regular season.

The Quakers play nonconference Southern Virginia University today at 2:00 p.m. at home before traveling to Randolph College tomorrow for a 1:00 p.m. matchup.