With a 7–2 win at Wesleyan University on Saturday, the Tufts men’s tennis team is now undefeated in their last eight matches. This win also snapped a five-match losing streak against the Cardinals, dating back to the 2015–16 season.
Tufts is now tied with Middlebury for third in the NESCAC, who they beat 5–4 earlier this year. Sitting at 9–1 on the year (NESCAC 4–1), their sole blemish was a 6–3 loss against No. 1 Williams College earlier this year. Wesleyan is now 4–7 overall, 3–4 in conference.
Tufts finished 8–9 in their last full season in 2019. Currently, at the midway point of this season, they have already eclipsed their 2019 win total and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association has ranked them third nationally, behind only Case Western Reserve University and the University of Chicago.
“We have our process, we’ve been sticking to it, and it’s finally paying off,” senior Isaac Gorelik, who was consistently in the singles lineup in his 2019 freshman season, said. This year, Gorelik has owned the first position in singles and was recognized in a recent poll as the third best singles player in the Northeast region.
Although Gorelik dropped his singles match against Wesleyan’s No. 1, his teammates were able to pick up the following five matches. Right behind the senior in the No. 2 spot was junior Rishabh Sharda, who currently holds a No. 9 singles regional ranking. Sharda’s match against his Wesleyan opponent was brief, as he won a two setter 6–1, 6–2.
First-year Vuk Vuksanovic won No. 3 singles in a tiebreak. Senior Paris Pentousis, first-year Derin Acaroglu and junior Josh Belandres each won in two sets for the remaining singles matches. In their debut seasons, Vuksanovic and Acaroglu have proven themselves as consistent performers and have been rewarded with frequent playing opportunities.
“The whole freshman class has just been tough, and they bought into the program right off the bat. I think there’s just a lot of trust. … They’re already playing like veterans. They have guts,” Gorelik said.
On the doubles side, Tufts went 2 for 3. Sharda and Belandres won 8–5, Pentousis and Gorelik lost their match, and graduate student duo Niko Hereford and Acaroglu came away with an 8–2 victory.
After only playing matches away from Medford thus far, Tufts will be back on their home courts on Thursday, April 14, against Bates College and again on April 16 against Bowdoin.