Nick Beaty led the Michigan men's tennis team past Columbia. Sydney Verlinde/Daily. Buy this photo.

After winning the first set of his singles match, graduate student Nick Beaty trailed 40-0 while clinging to a 6-5 lead in the second set. Undeterred by his predicament after already trailing earlier in the set, Beaty put himself to work winning the next three points to knot the game at 40 all.

As his opponent’s final shot sailed out of bounds, Beaty leapt up into the air and threw up his fist—he had won his fifth consecutive match and clinched the fourth and final point necessary for a key win.

Riding a four-game win streak, the Michigan men’s tennis team (8-2 overall) refused to take their foot off the gas pedal against Columbia (9-3), willing its way to a hard-fought 7-0 victory. But without Beaty’s comeback effort, the decision could’ve been much tighter.

After stealing the doubles point from the Lions early, the Wolverines’ momentum began to falter in singles competition. Aside from seniors Andrew Fenty and Patrick Maloney making quick work of their opponents in straight sets, Michigan struggled. Three out of the six singles competitors lost their first sets by wide margins. But Beaty’s second-set comeback win turned the tide and reinvigorated his stumbling teammates.

“Nick’s for sure the leader of this team,” Michigan coach Adam Steinberg said. “No one cares as much as him.”

And Beaty’s teammates clearly agreed with their coach’s sentiments. After junior Ondrej Styler lost the first set, 6-1, he was approached and encouraged by Beaty to keep fighting. Styler quickly stole the first two games of the next set, before edging out his opponent, 7-5, in a tiebreaker to tie the match at 1-1. Fueled by his newfound momentum, Styler won the third-set tie-breaker, 10-6, winning the match.

Sophomores Gavin Young and Jacob Bickersteth continued the come-from-behind trend, capitalizing on their opportunities in the second set before pulling away to win their respective matches in the third. In the process, both added to their win streaks, which now each sit at five games each. 

“I was proud of them because they won some tough second sets there, and tie-breakers,” Steinberg said. “Grit is the right word; they had a lot of it today.”

And led by Beaty, the Wolverines clearly possessed it. 

“It’s a frustrating sport,” Beaty said. “(You have to) keep your head cool so you can make good decisions.”