Men’s Tennis sweeps, defeating Connecticut College 9-0

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Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Men’s tennis demonstrated their resiliency after a tough outing the day prior at Trinity College (Note: photo taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Ilana Zeilinger

Traveling to New London, Conn., the men’s tennis team took to the courts for their third match of the season on Sunday, victoriously beating the Connecticut College Camels 9-0. 

Just the day before, the Bobcats fell 8-1 to No. 3 Tufts, but the Bates men rose to the occasion and showed some teeth as they triumphantly took on the Camels. 

The doubles team of captain Alex Kennedy ’21 and Alexander Gujarathi ’24 continued their winning streak, defeating the Camel’s team by a count of 8-6. 

Just the day before, Kennedy and Gujarathi won their doubles match against Tufts, coming away with a 8-6 victory over their Tufts opponents. Last weekend, in the first match of their season against Trinity, Kennedy and Gujarathi played singles where both men defeated their singles opponents in straight sets at the third and sixth positions: Gujarathi defeated his Trinity opponent  6-3, 6-1, while Kennedy came away with a  6-2, 6-4 win. 

Moving up to No. 1 doubles, Nick Forester ’23 and Nikesh Desal ’24 defeated their Conn. College opponents by a count of 8-5. Their victory came as a breath of fresh air after they lost a tough match against Tufts in which they were edged out 8-7.

“We were down a few key athletes because of injuries, so everyone had to move up a position, and we had to come up with some new doubles pairings and the teams never missed a beat,” noted Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Paul Gastonguay ’89. 

He added, “Before the Conn. matches, we talked about practicing good habits, trusting our training, but most of all being resilient and gritty no matter what.”

Despite the tough matches against Tufts, Gastonguay was impressed with the Bobcats’ spirit and determination: “We had tough losses to Tufts on Saturday, but we bounced back strong. We did not have a lot of time to recover because of the quick turnaround, and we had to find a way to turn the page and compete on Sunday.” 

“The senior captains have found a way to get their teammates in a great mind space and to truly enjoy each opportunity we have this spring. You can see it and feel it,” continued Gastonguay. “The way they fight through adversity and truly enjoy being together on court is so incredibly rewarding as a coach.” 

The Bates No. 3 doubles team of Cameron Kania ’23 and Thorne Kieffer ’24 comfortably defeated Conn. College’s duo by a count of 8-3.  

“It is not easy to finish a long day of tennis and then jump on a bus early the next morning, and drive 4 hours to Connecticut and compete an hour and a half later,” remarked Gastonguay. 

However, despite the quick and tiring turnaround, five out of the six doubles players also played singles on Sunday. Forester, playing No. 1, won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Kania and Gujarathi, playing No. 2 and No. 3 singles respectively, also won in straight sets. 

Teddy Koide ’23 played hard at No. 4 singles to win in three sets. Koide lost his first set 1-6 but rallied to win 6-2 in his second set. In the tiebreaker set, Koide took over, winning 10-3.

Playing No. 5 and No. 6 singles respectively, Desai and Kennedy won in straight sets to give Bates a clean sweep over the Camels. 

“We were very disciplined in singles and never wavered,” remarked Gastonguay. “When I take a step back and realize that our sophomores have played only five team matches in the last two years, I am blown away by their tenacity and competitiveness.”

The Bobcats will return to the courts on Sunday to host the Colby College Mules at the Wallach Tennis Center.