Graham Lehman, '17, sprints forward to keep a ball in play at the teams practice on September 24, 2014 at the Ulrich Tennis Courts. The team has put in a lot of hard work in preparing for their upcoming tournament this weekend. (Gracie Chavers/B&W staff)

Lehigh men’s tennis starts off season strong


Six games into the season, the men’s tennis team is working hard to improve in time for the start of Patriot League play.

After four weeks, the Mountain Hawks have gotten off to a 4-2 start.

Their first win was 4-3 against Niagara University on Jan. 31. The team then faced its first speed bump against Monmouth University two days later, losing 5-2. However, it didn’t let that first sting of defeat cripple them, going on to win its next three matches against Drexel University (5-2), Saint Francis University (6-1), and Stony Brook University (4-3).

Although the Mountain Hawks suffered a tough loss during their last match against Richmond University (4-0) on Feb. 14, they were determined to bounce back just as they did after their first defeat.

With a wide range of talent, the team is confident that success awaits them in the upcoming months.

“Thus far we have shown that we have great depth and talented players at all positions in the lineup,” senior captain Ben Gilman said.

Gilman’s overall singles result is an even 3-3, while his overall doubles is 4-1. Gilman and senior co-captain Mitchell Petersen, have proven to be devoted leaders.

“(Gilman) and (Petersen) have set a precedent and hold the team to the highest standard,” assistant coach Taylor Hampshire said.

Sophomore Ethan Bogard, who is responsible for two match-clinching wins, thinks he may know the reason for the Mountain Hawks’ success.

“The team’s personal strengths have been mental toughness mainly shown by our ability to come back when we’ve been down early in the match,” Bogard said.

Junior Jeremy Kochman, a reliable player with an overall singles record of 5-0 and a doubles record of 4-1, acknowledges, however, that the team has areas in need of improvement.

“We need to improve our doubles,” Kochman said. “In our six matches we have lost the doubles point three times. It hasn’t come back to hurt us, but once the Patriot League season begins we cannot give away any points.”

Hampshire said that one of the team’s goals is to be the fittest team in the Patriot League

As for their favorite moment of the season, Gilman, Kochman, Bogard and Hampshire all agree on their come-from-behind win against Stony Brook University during the second match of the season.

Kochman boasts of his teammates’ performances during the match.

“Ben Gilman won an intense match in a third set tiebreak at number one singles to tie the overall score at 3-3, which gave us a fighting chance,” Kochman said. “Then, Ethan Bogard came back from a set down to win and clinch the match at number six singles. It was a great match where we got contributions from multiple players.”

The Mountain Hawks have 10 more matches before the start of the much-anticipated Patriot League season. Their next match is Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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