Last weekend was one of lost opportunities for the Michigan men’s tennis team, as it dropped matches to No. 22 Wake Forest and William and Mary in North Carolina. The Wolverines failed to capitalize on their chances in several contests, especially the doubles matches, and as a result, came away 0-2 on the weekend.
“Obviously the end result was disappointing that we didn’t come away with at least a split,” Michigan assistant coach Dan Goldberg said. “Wake Forest is ranked pretty high, and they played an excellent match against us. The William and Mary match was really very winnable.”
Michigan faced the Demon Deacons and began the match by giving up a hotly-contested doubles point. Two of the three matches ended in tiebreakers, and the No. 3 team of Anthony Jackson and Josef Fischer was the only Michigan team to win, with a score of 9-8 (5).
On the singles side, Wake Forest dominated the competition, taking the top four matches in straight sets on its way to a complete sweep. Michigan’s No. 1 player, Michael Rubin, faced David Loewenthal, whom he had beaten years ago on the junior circuit. Things were different this time around, though, as Loewenthal – currently ranked No. 35 in the country – defeated Rubin in straight sets.
“(Loewenthal) served extremely well, and Michael just wasn’t able to break his serve,” said Goldberg, noting that Rubin was only broken twice in the 6-3, 6-4 decision.”
Saturday, the Wolverines had a few more chances to turn the match in their favor but fell short again. Michigan began the match by giving up another close doubles point.
“We actually had a match point to win the number 1 doubles match, and we lost that in a tiebreaker,” Goldberg said.
The No. 1 team of Chris Rolf and Rubin dropped its match, as did Chris Shaya and Vinnie Gossain. Once again, the team of Jackson/Fischer was the only doubles win for the Wolverines.
“Our number 3 team played extremely well in their matches this weekend,” Goldberg said. “We’re still learning. It’s just a question of cashing in when we have those opportunities.”
The singles matches also reflected the Wolverines’ inability to capitalize on opportunities. In one of the matches Michigan lost, Gossain was up 3-0 in the third set before falling to his opponent. Also, Shaya was two points away from winning his match before losing.
“We didn’t step up when the big points came up. That match really came down to a few points here and there,” said Goldberg, citing lack of experience as part of the problem. “The more matches the guys can play in those types of situations, the more confidence they’ll have the next time. The more confidence you have, you come to expect to win those situations.”
He said although the Wolverines didn’t pick up a win this weekend, everyone still took a lot of positives out of the experience. And the experience itself will benefit a team that started the season with only two returning players with varsity experience.