|Clayton Tontarski, fourth year Industrial Engineering major, in the midst of a doubles match against Roberts Wesleyan Thursday, March 22.
Prior to the Men’s Tennis match on Thursday, March 22,
there was some talk along the sidelines between the players,
coaches and spectators about the sound of bagpipes, which
rang out from somewhere nearby for the first two hours of
the competition. Add the fact that the Tigers were playing in record
high March temperatures of 80 degrees, and it might be fair to say that
the team had many distractions during their 8-1 loss to the Roberts
Working through the lengthy doubles and then singles matches, the
Tigers executed their plays with precision and determination, but it
was not enough as the Raiders racked up the match points. However,
commenting on the attitude the team has when facing tough teams, RIT
head coach Krystina Bachner says: “When they know it’s a challenge,
they do a good job stepping up to the plate and competing at the top
notch, versus sitting back and letting the other team dictate.”
Although RIT lost two of three doubles matches, fourth year Biology
major Tennyson Saucedo and third year Environmental Science major
Neville Bilimoria won the second-ranked doubles match 8-4. First
doubles was a tight 8-6 loss. “We should’ve taken it,” said Bachner.
“They choked under pressure a little bit. [Fourth year Industrial
Engineering major] Clayton Tontarski and [fourth year Mechanical
Engineering major] Larry Hall … have a really good connection, and
they know how to play doubles very solid.”
Despite the loss, Bachner said her team performed well. “We have a
really solid lineup,” she asserted as the singles matches were ending. “We
put everybody in the best position that they should be in.”
The Tigers lost all six of their singles matches, but the individual
matches were by no means blowouts. Singles scoring in tennis dictates
that whoever wins six games first wins the set, and whoever wins two
out of three sets wins the match. RIT and Wesleyan pushed the top
three-ranked singles matches to a third set.
|Third year Environmental Science major Neville Bilimoria rests next to his opponent, German Michaylyszyn, midmatch Thursday, March 22.
While the loss was disappointing, the Tigers have improved over
their last competition against the Raiders on September 10, when they
lost all nine matches. Speaking lightly about the tough matches against
the Raiders, Bachner says, “We play Vassar this weekend; this is a good
warm-up for Vassar, because Vassar is in the Liberty League [with RIT].
It’ll be a good match-up for the men’s team on Sunday.”
Bachner is encouraged that her team seemed more disciplined and
focused this game. She says, “Now they’re being more aggressive, and
they’re being smarter with their shots.” While this didn’t result in a
win for the Tigers against the Raiders, it should definitely pay off in the
second half of the season.
Bachner is also excited to see the growth and depth on the team
this year. The players are able to recognize their mistakes and correct
them, improving the play of each individual. She says this makes the
team as a whole stronger, as no one or two players are more dominant
than the rest — many top-ranked players on the Tigers’ team have
The Tigers are in the middle of their first season as a member of
the Liberty League and have earned a 4-5 record overall. RIT faced
Vassar College on Sunday, March 25. Their next home game is against
Hamilton College on Friday, March 30, at 4:00 p.m.