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Men's tennis sixth in final tournament

Men beat Wittenberg but lose to Kenyon and Allegheny

by Leigh Ann Totty

The men's tennis team showed guts throughout the North Coast Athletic Conference match, held at Case Western Reserve University on May 2 and 3. The men came home with sixth place under their belt.

Despite their first round 0-5 loss to Kenyon College, the men came out against Wittenberg University in the backdraw to win 5-2.

The men then suffered a lost to Allegheny College 0-4. "We played well against Wittenberg University, and showed our toughness by winning two three-set matches," said men's Head Coach Chris Barker. "Against Allegheny we played well, but they played phenomenally."

Many overheads, volleys and guts were needed to pull out and win the doubles point (2-1) against Wittenberg. Number one doubles, double-degree sophomore Peter Swendsen and sophomore Sam Steckley, won 8-2 over the Tigers.

Number three doubles, sophomore Eric Shin and sophomore Andy Kim, lost 8-1 to Wittenberg. In order to get the doubles point conservatory sophomore Mike O'Connell and senior Koji Ebersole needed to close off the competition. The team won 9-8 (7-2), allowing only two points in the tiebreaker.

In singles, Ebersole played well against Townsend, but lost 6-2, 6-3. First-year Tony Choi at two lost 6-4, 6-4. Numbers three through six swept through the Tiger competition; Steckley won at number three 6-3, 6-3, and Swendsen dominated his opponent 7-5, 6-1.

To win the match the men rested their hopes on number four O'Connell and number six Shin. A win from either of them would have allowed the men to play Allegheny in the consolation round for fifth or sixth place. O'Connell won the first set, lost the second, but came through in the third 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Meanwhile, Shin swept over his opponent, 6-2, 6-4 after losing the set 1-6. Barker said, "If Eric is on, no one can touch him."

Early Saturday morning, the men were playing Allegheny again. In the regular season the men had lost 6-1 to the Gators. The final score in this match was 0-4 in favor of the Gators. During the conference fianl the matches are only played to decision, so many of the matches that were suspended after four points were won.

The men's sixth place finish was "a big improvement over eighth from last year," Barker said.

The doubles were tough for Oberlin; Swendsen and Steckley lost 8-4. Swendsen said, "Our opponents played tough tennis. Allegheny improved a lot. We were playing well, but not enough to overcome them."

At third doubles, Shin and first-year Wes Clapp lost 8-2. Since Allegheny won the doubles point, Oberlin needed to fight hard to keep alive for fifth place. Ebersole lost 6-1, 6-2. O'Connell was defeated 6-3, 6-2. Shin at sixth lost the first set 6-2 and tried to turn the tide in the second, but lost in a tiebreaker 7-6 (7-4).

The men reflected on the season before departing for conferences. Barker said, "Earlier when we lost to Case Western Reserve University 4-3, I told the guys we have the ability. We are better than the final results we've had over the course of the season. We'll just have to prove it in conference. We came out sixth, which is an improvement from last year. It is where we should be for now."


Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 24, May 9, 1997

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