Men’s tennis makes name nationally

Despite injuries, the men’s tennis team has managed to climb into the national top-25 rankings


Zack Ely, ‘19, has had to step up since Michael Holt, ‘16, tore his ACL. Ely has won his last seven singles matches. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Matt Kaminer

Coming off a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, it was easy for the W&L Men’s Tennis team to set new goals for the 2016 campaign.

“The main team objective is to advance past the second round of NCAAs,” Thomas Johnson, ’16, said. “We fell short at this stage last year, so we want to improve upon this result and make our mark in the NCAA Tournament.”

The team has established a tradition of dominance in the ODAC, claiming the past six championships. However, the Generals are now beginning to make their mark nationally, knocking off then-15th-ranked Mary Washington to land the team at a top-20 nationally.

“We finally notched a big upset win, something that has alluded the past few seasons, so we have confidence that we can compete with and beat teams ranked ahead of us in the tournament,” Jordan Krasner, ’17, said.

Impressively, the team has made a push onto the national scene without its top singles and doubles player, Michael Holt, ’16.

“[Holt] was having a stellar season in singles as he was undefeated in the spring and had beaten some of the top players in the region,” Krasner said. “Unfortunately, he tore his ACL and will most likely miss the rest of the season. However, he continues to lead from the sidelines by coming to every practice and helping out any way he can.”

Despite Holt’s absence from the lineup, the team has used the loss as fuel for the rest of the season.

“We’ve unified around his injury; we realize it will be tougher now without our top player and everyone having to move up a spot in the lineup but we are using it as extra motivation to win for Michael,” Krasner said.

Without Holt, the lineup has shifted in order to maximize team results, and some of the Generals have benefited greatly from this switch.

“Will Bannister (’17) has made enormous strides from last year and is having the best season of his college tennis career so far,” Krasner said.

The Generals sit at a 10-4 overall record as of the morning of April 3, including a 6-0 mark in the ODAC. Four of those losses have come at the hands of teams currently ranked nationally, but according to Johnson, these are the matches the team prefers to play.

“We always look forward to seeing the top schools like Emory and Carnegie Mellon,” Johnson said. “These opponents serve as great measuring sticks to see where we are as a team and where we need to be to compete on a national level.”

“We are continuing to work very hard at practice every day to try and be playing the best tennis possible come NCAA time,” Krasner said.