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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, May 24, 2024

Tufts impresses at Wallach Invitational

Nick Cary eyes the ball for a return shot in a match against Connecticut College.

While the rest of the Tufts student body was cheering on other athletic teams at homecoming this past weekend, the men's tennis team traveled to Bates to compete at the Wallach Invitational. Tufts boasted seven singles and doubles semi-finalists, with first-year Chris Jones making it all the way to the D singles final before losing 6-2, 6-0 to first-year Grant Urken of Bowdoin.

“As it was my first collegiate tournament, I tried to come in without any expectations, with the intention of just focusing on improving my game and gaining experience,” Jones said.

Though Jones made it further than the other Jumbos, he wasn’t the only one who performed well this weekend. Junior Ben Battle, senior tri-captain Rob Jacobson, sophomore Zain Ali and senior Jay Glickman all advanced to the semi-finals in singles competition, while Jacobson and first-year Ross Kamin made it to the semis in the doubles bracket, along with Jones and Ali.

“I was obviously disappointed I didn’t end up winning the tournament, but [I was glad] I played the type of tennis I wanted to play," Jacobson said. "I played very aggressively and took my opportunities when they were there.”

His individual performance was nearly stellar; both Jacobson’s first round against Middlebury sophomore Timo van der Geest and his quarterfinal victory against Amherst first-year Jesse Levetin were tough wins that he had to grind out.

“I take both those wins seriously as positive signs [of] moving forward and definitely don’t take them for granted,” Jacobson said. “[The Tufts team] is very deep. The level of play that all the guys on the team can produce is very high quality”.

Senior tri-captain Nick Cary echoed that sentiment.

“As a team, I think we improved from an attitude standpoint, and it showed in our singles results, as a lot of guys had some really good wins,” Cary said.

While the Jumbos did not compete in traditional team-scoring, the ability to match up against future conference foes gave them an opportunity to gauge their fitness and strategies against opponents that they will likely meet in the spring. The high quality play of first-years, in particular Jones and Kamin, bodes well for the team going forward.

“I think we now realize how...tough and gritty we are," Cary said. "Conditions weren't always great, but our guys were still competing hard and staying positive throughout matches.”

Assistant coach Christo Schultz was satisfied with the promising showing of his players this past weekend, and noted that everyone really showed what their capabilities were.

"[Tufts could end up as] one of the top teams in the NESCAC if we do what we are capable of doing," Schultz said.

The weekend's results were indicative of the work the team has been doing this fall, but there is still work to be done. Schultz pointed to consistency, specifically in maintaining a high-level of play, as the number one weakness that the coaching staff will aim to focus on going forward.

The road to the spring is still long and arduous, but the Jumbos are making strides in preparing to take on one of the toughest conferences in Div. III.

They finish up their fall season on Oct. 24 to Oct. 25 with Tufts’ own Boston Invitational.