Men's Tennis, 26th Nationally & 9th in Northeast, Takes Bates to the Limit but Falls in NESCACs, 5-3 - Head Coach Mike Fried Receives NESCAC Honor
Avenging their only loss of the season as a second-doubles team, Jeff Legunn '13 (right side photo) and Michael King '16 (left side photo) defeated their Bates rivals, 8-5, to give Wesleyan a valuable team point during a first-round NESCAC tournament matchup in Amherst Fri., May 3. It was Wesleyan's first-ever appearance in the NESCAC playoffs since the six-team format was adopted eight years ago. Legunn and King, who went 12-1 on the season, dropped an 8-3 decision at Bates in the final match of the regular season.
Wesleyan, which cracked the ITA national Division III rankings for the first time this year, assuming the #26 spot as well as #9 in the Northeast, could not overcome Bates in the rematch as the Bobcats, ranked 25th nationally and sixth in the Northeast, came away with a 5-3 win. The #2 singles match, which was in its third set as King had split with his Bobcat opponent, was not completed as NESCAC tournament matches are played to decision. Once a team posts its fifth victory, the match ends. The loss ended the Cardinals' season at 7-10 overall, 5-4 in NESCAC matches. Following a vote of the NESCAC coaches, interim head coach Mike Fried (photo insert lower right) was named co-NESCAC Coach of the Year in recognition of the team's unprecedented conference success.
Legunn, at #4, and Ben Hudson '15, at #6, won in straight sets comfortably, 6-4, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-3, respectively, to provide Weseyan with its other two team points. Each had won their match the first time Wesleyan faced Bates as well. Legunn posted a team-best 11-6 singles record for the Cardinals as the lone senior in the starting lineup. Hudson had the best winning percentage on the squad in singles with his 9-4 season record. Both Sam Rudovsky '16, at #3, and Zach Brint '16, at #5, had won their first set before falling in a three-set match in the NESCAC playoff encounter. Rudovsky was a solid winner for Wesleyan in his rookie season, coming through with a 10-6 singles mark.
With three freshmen and two sophomores in the starting lineup for both singles and doubles, the nationally ranked Cardinals have much to anticipate for the 2013-14 campaign.