Because tennis is such an individual sport, it”s hard to measure the impact of momentum on a team.
But yesterday, there was no doubting the importance of momentum, as the No. 35 Michigan men”s tennis team fell to No. 29 Indiana State, 5-2, at the Varsity Tennis center.
Michigan was previously unbeaten at home at 5-0 but found the going tough from the start.
After a quick win from Michigan”s No. 1 doubles team of Chris Shaya and Henry Beam, Michigan looked to take the doubles point, as it led in both remaining matches. But the two remaining Indiana State doubles teams got hot quickly, while the Wolverines went cold. The Sycamores built off of each other”s shots illustrated with a fiery tirade of assorted yells and took both matches. Michigan”s Greg Novak and Danny McCain let one slip away, losing 9-7, despite leading 7-4 earlier in the match. No. 3 doubles Ben Cox and Anthony Jackson also dropped their match for the Wolverines.
The contest marked the first time this year Michigan dropped the doubles point, and it was devastating. The Wolverines just didn”t seem to have enough energy to fight back in singles play.
“Losing the doubles point kind of set the tide,” sophomore Chris Rolf said. “We should”ve won that point.”
After that, the Wolverines seemed demoralized, as they dropped three-straight singles matches. Falling in straight sets were Novak, Cox, and Jackson.
For Jackson, they were his first singles and doubles losses of the season.
“Individually, I”m feeling down, but it hurts even more that the team lost,” Jackson said.
McCain was the lone bright spot, posting a straight-set victory, including an amazing over the shoulder winner on the run that proved to be a pivotal point in the second set.
“I thought I played well, but it was surprising when I got off the court to see that a lot of people didn”t do as well,” McCain said.
Henry Beam also won his singles match, his team-leading 15th win of the season.
It was a tough loss for Michigan, especially since the match was winnable.
“We definitely expected to win,” McCain said. “They”re a team that if we played 10 times, we”d win nine times.”
The team wasn”t able to shake off the effects of last weekend”s loss to Northwestern. It will have to now move past a two-game losing streak to get back in the win column.
“I think (the Northwestern loss) is definitely lingering in our memory,” McCain said. “But there”s no reason to keep it in our minds.”
This weekend No. 32 Minnesota pays a visit to Ann Arbor, and it will be no small task for the Wolverines to overcome.
“We have a match this weekend that can turn it around for us,” McCain said.