Bates men’s tennis team, currently ranked 21st in the nation, narrowly missed upsetting the No. 8 ranked Johns Hopkins Blue Jays when they traveled to Baltimore on Saturday, losing 5-4. The loss will likely give Bates a slight bump in the rankings this week, as the Bobcats were only one set away from an impressive road victory.
Bates and Hopkins split the six singles matches, while Hopkins barely managed to edge Bates for two out of the three doubles matches.
In singles, senior two-time All-American Rob Crampton lost the top seeded game to the formidable Tanner Brown, who is individually ranked 21st in the nation, in sets of 6-2 and 6-3. Fellow senior and two-time All-American Matt Bettles highlighted the match for Bates, defeating the (individually) No. 5 ranked Andy Hersch in two sets, each 6-4.
Junior Timmy Berg showed determination and mental toughness in overcoming an early deficit and winning the second set in a heart-pounding tiebreaker. Berg won his match 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Sophomore Pierre Planche provided the third win for Bates, dominating his match 6-1, 6-2.
An incredibly deep Hopkins team managed to tie the singles matches at three matches apiece by winning the fifth and six seeded matches against sophomore Henry Lee and junior Eric Ruta, respectively.
In doubles, Crampton and Bettles showed why they combine to form the tenth ranked doubles team in the nation when they defeated Hopkins’ top-ranked duo 8-6. Planche and Berg came agonizingly close to winning the deciding doubles match, but ultimately fell 8-6 to the fourth ranked duo. Bates’ third doubles team of Lee and junior Ben Bogard also fell by a slim margin of 8-5.
“We had our opportunities against Hopkins,” commented a frustrated Crampton, “It didn’t go our way this time but everyone on the team is confident in our big matches coming up against NESCAC schools.”
The loss moves Bates to an overall record of 4-5, and the Bobcats are 1-1 in NESCAC play. The tough test against Hopkins should provide a good springboard for Bates as it enters the heart of its NESCAC schedule in the coming weeks. Bates will next play at Tufts on Saturday in a match that the Bobcats will be favored to win.