Men's Tennis Looks to Keep Dominating MAAC
With another new year comes another season for the Marist men's tennis team. Before the 2015 season, Marist was selected to finish second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Preseason Coach's Poll behind Monmouth, who was the favorite. This marks the first time in eight years the Red Foxes were not picked first. The poll requests each coach submit a ranked order of where teams should be seeded. Ultimately, Monmouth was picked first because they are returning five of their top six players while Marist has a lot of young players who hope to step up and fill the shoes of four players the team lost.
"Seedings and polls are what other people think of you,” head Coach Tim Smith said. “Production and results are what you think of yourselves. I truly believe we can be competitive with every team in the MAAC and I look forward to playing all the teams."
So far the team has faced some tough competition in nationally ranked number 29 Harvard, a competitive Binghamton team, as well as a strong Bryant team. The Red Foxes were competitive in all three, and were able to earn a victory against Harvard at fifth singles with freshman Timo Tanzer winning the match 4-6, 6-3, 10-8.
"I'm very proud and pleased with the way our entire team performed. There were a lot of long points and the guys never gave up,” Tanzer said. “This was an exciting start against the #29 team in the country." Tanzer continued, saying, "Our doubles are still a work in progress but this group of guys are eager to learn and I feel that we are going to peek come MAAC tournament time."
In the second match of the season, Marist came up just short against Binghamton in a 4-3 match, but won two out of three doubles matches. Joe Motta and Fredrik Bjerke defeated Binghamton's Sid Hazarika and Ismael Dinia 6-4, while Rudolf Kurtz and Joseph Dube teamed up to take down Binghamton's Thomas Caputo and Vihar Shah 6-2. The other victories for the Red Foxes came in singles with Rudolph Kurtz and Justin Chanthalangsy winning their matches.
In the third match of the season, Marist defeated Bryant, the reigning Northeast Conference Champions, and earned their first victory of the spring season by a 5-2 score. The Red Foxes pulled out two victories in doubles and five total singles victories. Fredrik Bjerke and Joe Motta defeated Bryant's Oliver Welsh and Ernesto Arguello 6-4 while Justin Chanthalangsy and Matteo Guidici earned a hard fought 7-6(3) win over Bryant's team of Matt Kuhar and Richard Sipala. In singles Joseph Dube, Timo Tanzer, Justin Chanthalangsy, and Matteo Guidici all picked up wins for the Red Foxes.
"This season I expect the team to perform and behave the way we have for the past two weeks,” captain Matteo Guidici said. “I am very proud of our team we have fought for every point in each match so far. Our ultimate goal is to win the MAAC and go to the NCAA tournament and I am confident we can achieve this goal."
The Red Foxes return to Poughkeepsie to face Big East powerhouse Georgetown, but with matches already played against tough teams, Marist will be up for the challenge.
"I have seen the best attitude I have had on the team in eight years which will help us grow and compete during the season," Smith said. The team has already showed that all it takes is the right mindset, and remaining focused throughout the season in order to achieve the ultimate goal, being the last team standing at the end of the MAAC tournament.
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