History tends to repeat itself. The GW men’s tennis team found that out the hard way this weekend.
For the second straight year, the team entered the Atlantic 10 as the first seed and for the second straight year, the team failed to clinch the title. The Colonials lost their shot at a top finish in a 4-3 semifinal loss to St. Bonaventure on Saturday. GW defeated Saint Louis on Sunday to take third place in the tournament.
“Well it wasn’t what we wanted, I think it’s always disappointing, but we’re happy with coming in third instead of fourth because we had to play it out for fourth,” coach Greg Munoz said. “We weren’t as disappointed as we were last year because this year we knew things like this happened. We had an undefeated season and that’s a lot to carry going into it. Your streak’s got to end somewhere, and it did.”
The Colonials’ fall to St. Bonaventure was based largely on their doubles performance. The Bonnies swept GW’s doubles lineup and took one singles match to clinch the game. Sophomore duo Arya Vayghan and Erik Hannah were the only doubles team to win a match, doing so against Saint Louis.
Munoz said that because it was the first time the two teams faced off this season, GW’s lineup wasn’t suited to the game.
“It just happens that players play well when they’re down, and it wasn’t that we played poorly when we were up, things just didn’t go our way,” Munoz said. “We might have changed the lineup a little bit if we had known the outcome, but its all hindsight. If we had played St. Bonaventure in the regular season we might have learned something.”
But despite similar A-10 showings, Munoz said this year was different because of the way the team members handled the loss.
“The difference between this year and last year is that we have a younger team and the maturity level of our team was definitely better this year. They handled [the loss] better. They behaved perfectly on the court, they were supportive of each other in the loss,” Munoz said.
Munoz said the team will learn from this year’s experience. Next year he hopes to strengthen the doubles side and said that incoming freshmen will bolster the lineup.
“We’ve got three new players coming in next year and we’re not young anymore, so there won’t be any more excuses,” Munoz said. “We’re going to make sure we come out stronger next year and I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re the no. 1 seed again.”