The West Chester University men’s tennis team ended their season with some positives in a season where they faced many negatives. The team was able to break an eight-match losing streak, and finished out with a two match win streak.
It was a trying season for the Golden Rams, but Head Coach Tina Tharp was very proud of how her team battled this season.
“We had injuries, illness, lost players and they kept working,” said Tharp, commending the guys for their resolve and grit this season.
The two wins will be good building blocks for the team next year.
Their end of season schedule began last week as they played three matches. The first was on a trip to New York to take on Saint Thomas Aquinas College. The visit to the Empire state was not a pleasant one for WCU as they were short several players at the wrong time. The team quickly fell because they had to give up several matches due to their limited roster. This led to a 9-0 painful loss for the Golden Rams. The team would not have an easy go in their next match either.
The team found themselves facing a Division 1 school in the Delaware Blue Hens. Though the Blue Hens were coming off a 5-0 loss to Temple, they made quick work of yet another shorthanded WCU squad. In total, the team was without the services of Norman Patten, Aidan Henken and Lucas Von der Hyde in singles play.
This forced junior Charlie Rushing to the top singles spot, and he did his best to grab WCU a court after they came up empty in doubles. Rushing lost the first set but found the strength to battle back and grab the second set, forcing a final set 10-point tiebreak. But he just didn’t have quite enough, falling 2-6, 7-5, 3-10.
The rest of the singles matches were tough outings for the remaining Golden Rams, as Keanu Travelino and Cameron Moore lost both sets at love: 0-6, 0-6. Fourth singles didn’t fare much better as Kylil Curry fell 1-6, 1-6. The team was forced to forfeit fifth and sixth singles, along with third doubles. Things couldn’t look much bleaker for West Chester.
Turns out all the Golden Rams needed was a quick trip over to Millersville (0-18, 0-5 PSAC) to change their fortune.
The PSAC finale fell the way of WCU 8-1, as the team was finally able to grab their first win of the season since March 15th. The day started off well as the team sported a near full arsenal missing only Patten due to illness.
The team swept all three doubles matches, beginning at third doubles as Von der Hyde and Moore breezed their way to an 8-0 win. Travelino and Curry followed suit with an 8-3 win of their own. Finally, at the top court Rushing paired up with Aidan Henken, and the pair fought their way to a close 8-6 win.
Singles play was a success for West Chester as well. Rushing took his place at first singles and handled his opponent in straight sets 6-0, 6-2. Second singles would prove to be no challenge either for Von der Hyde who came away with a 6-2, 6-1 win. Curry clinched the match at sixth singles, 6-1, 6-1 while Travelino grabbed the eighth win for WCU 6-1, 6-1.
The lone blemish on a perfect day for WCU was at fourth singles. Henken was forced to retire due to injury, an unfortunate circumstance that has become far too much of a theme for West Chester this season. This gave Millersville one win for the day.
The Golden Rams’ season concluded at home as they welcomed Bloomfield College (0-7 Overall) to south campus. The match was a makeup for a rain date the week prior, and things weren’t looking good earlier on Monday. Luckily, after some morning showers, the sun came out and the Golden Rams’ guns came out.
The team finished off the season with a satisfying 7-2 victory, one that will help lay a good foundation for the next season.
Third doubles got things done early as Von der Hyde and Moore took it to the Bears in an 8-0 win. Second doubles didn’t fall the way the Golden Rams had hoped as Travelino and Curry fell in a 4-8 result.
First doubles was a fiery affair as the pair of Rushing and Patten squared off in a long first doubles match. After a match that lasted over an hour, the purple and gold came off the court with the 9-8 win over Bloomfield’s Vadim Kustov and Ville Heikkilae.
Singles play was also a long process, but that didn’t stop Curry from getting off to a fast start with a strong 6-0, 6-0 win. Patten returned to singles play for the first time in a week and looked no worse for wear. He took care of business at the top singles spot 6-2, 6-1.
And if you want a feel-good story, the match was clinched by none other than Moore. Moore is the lone senior on the team and returned this spring season as an emergency player. He was needed this season due to the number of absences the team faced each week, so he laced up his tennis shoes once again to make his return to WCU. Moore last played for the team back in 2014-15.
Moore was victorious at 5th singles 6-1, 6-2 giving WCU the overall win. A great way to finish off your tennis career.
Rushing, Von der Hyde and Travelino had more difficulty in dispatching their foes.
Rushing dropped his first set but fought back to force a third set tiebreaker in which he won. Rushing had played a high energy game throughout the match but had his problems maintaining consistency. However, he got it together enough to win 2-6, 7-5, 10-7. Travelino also rallied from behind to win in three sets 3-6, 6-2, 10-4.
Von der Hyde fell at third singles in his own three set tiebreak, 6-4, 6-7, 10- 5. The men’s team have a good chance to improve in their 2017 season.
The team will only lose Moore in their offseason, as they will have almost the entire team back for their next bid at a PSAC title.
Ryan Hunt is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RH803937@wcupa.edu.