Tennis aces ODAC tourney

Leading up to the finals, the tennis team did not drop a single game in the ODAC tournament


Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Alexx Niemann

ODAC championship competition continued for the men’s tennis team this weekend as the Generals are one step closer to winning a seventh consecutive conference title.

W&L punched its ticket to the finals with a 5-0 defeat of Randolph College on May 1 and another 5-0 shutout of Bridgewater College on May 7.

The Generals defeated third-seeded Bridgewater back in March by a comfortable margin of 6-3.

However, W&L will be sending a different lineup to the court than in the last meeting. Some injuries to key players such as captain and two-time All-American Michael Holt, ‘16, will keep the Generals below full strength this weekend. Nevertheless, a dominating first round victory has given the team some momentum going into Saturday.

“We are regaining momentum and confidence at the right time,” Holt said. “We always know the competition is tough, so we plan to bring our A-game.”

The Generals matched up with the Virginia Wesleyan on May 8 in the conference championship, but the match was not finished by the time of this publication.

The number one-seeded Marlins of Virginia Wesleyan handed the Generals a tough 5-4 loss in mid-April. Though this was W&L’s first ODAC loss since 2010, the team is not dwelling on this one slipup.

“I think we are going to be more prepared this time around,” Holt said. “Credit to Virginia Wesleyan for taking it to us last time, and now we know what to expect.”

Injuries hampered W&L in its last matchup with Virginia Wesleyan, to an even greater extent than they are now. Some of these injury woes have been alleviated for the Generals in ODACs with the return of Jordan Krasner, ‘17.

“Without Holt, obviously it’s going to be more difficult because he’s our number one player in both singles and doubles,” said Will Bannister, ‘17. “But we have Krasner back, and he’s fitter than he was the last time we played Virginia Wesleyan, because when we lost to them that was his first match back after being sidelined with appendicitis. He’s definitely going to be playing a lot stronger.”

The Generals also took advantage of competing at home when they dismantled Bridgewater in the semifinals.

“I feel like home-court advantage can be a huge factor this weekend,” Holt said. “We should have more fans at the matches, which can only help our chances. There is nothing like having the crowd to pull you through a tough match.”

The last time W&L failed to take the ODAC title was in 2009, and despite this potentially tough matchup with Virginia Wesleyan, the team is moving into this weekend feeling confident.

“I think we have a good chance,” Bannister said. “We’ll come out hotter than we did last time, and I think we have to be considered the favorites.”