The Lehigh Men’s tennis team secured its first win of the season against Marist, 6-1, on Feb. 5 at the Lewis Indoor Tennis Center.
With COVID-19 disrupting the length and quality of the previous two seasons, this match was the start of the first full spring season for the majority of the players on the team.
“This generation of players has dealt with a lot of adversity and lost out on a lot of competitive opportunities,” head coach Wouter Hendrix said. “They’ve trained their whole lives to play in college, and the pandemic took a lot of that away.”
With the exception of two players graduating last year, Harry Wang and Jacob Edelchik, this season’s roster remains the same. Freshmen Marc Blekhman and Luke Donovan are the only new additions to the team.
Blekhman said he is excited for his first season.
“I know the classes above me haven’t had much experience playing due to COVID-19, so going into it I am just grateful we are able to have a full season, and I’m really looking forward to it,” Blekhman said.
In the fall preseason, the Mountain Hawks competed in four invitational tournaments and sent two players to the quarterfinals against the top-25 schools in the country at ITA regionals.
Senior Zack Elliott said that this past fall was the best season the team has had during his four years at Lehigh.
Elliott, who was named First Team All-Patriot League and Academic All-Patriot League last season, has played a crucial part in the team’s success as captain.
Elliot said that being the best version of himself and helping others reach their potential is the most important part of his role.
“At the end of the day, you can’t win a college tennis match by yourself,” Elliot said.
Blekhman said he has been personally impacted by Elliot’s leadership so far this season: both as a new player and as Elliott’s fall double’s partner.
“I was captain of my high school tennis team, but after playing with Zack and seeing what he does as our captain, I’m figuring out what it’s like to be a leader on a college team,” Blekhman said. “I have a lot of work to do in order to get to that part.”
To prepare for the spring season, the Mountain Hawks worked on fitness conditioning, weight training and added emphasis on working in different doubles pairings.
“We’re going to try and step it up to roll with the other teams that are usually at the top, and we’re looking to go the extra mile to get to their level,” graduate assistant coach Jordan Williams said. “We have a killer schedule, and our goal is just to get as many W’s on the calendar before the big Patriot League tournament.”
Hendrix said that in order to have a shot at winning against competition like Army and Navy, the Mountain Hawks are going to have to be in top physical shape.
Elliot and Williams said that the team hopes their primarily home-based schedule will help families and the Lehigh fanbase come out to see them play.
“The most important thing to me, especially in my last year, is just enjoying every time our team wins a match and just trying to soak up those moments because we know it can be taken away from us,” Elliott said.
The Mountain Hawks will square off against Morgan State on Feb. 12 for the first time in Lehigh’s history.