Underclassmen Show Promise in First Match of the Season

Nate Levinson

The men’s tennis team suffered a tough 6–3 home loss to defending Ohio Athletic Conference champion Baldwin Wallace University in its first match of the season last Saturday. After finishing with a 10–14 record last season, the Yeomen are confident they can make great strides under new Head Coach Eric Ishida.

The Yeomen got off to a fast start in doubles play, taking an early lead behind senior Ben Turchin’s and junior Charlie Marks’ 7–5, 9–8 win. Sophomore Soren Zeliger and freshman Callan Louis followed up with a strong performance of their own, defeating their opponent 8–5 to give Oberlin an early 2–0 lead.

The lead was short-lived, however, as the Yellow Jackets roared back, winning the last doubles match and five of the six singles matches. Only Louis was able to secure a win in singles, winning the fourth match 6–4, 6–1 to keep the Yeomen in the game. After the match, Ishida heaped praise on the talented first-year.

“Cal didn’t show signs of being a freshman,” said the coach. “He stuck to his game and was very disciplined out there. He had to work really hard for his points but when things got tough, he did the things he needed to get back on track. He was really good the day he showed up here, and he’s only improved since.”

Despite the tough loss, there were still positive takeaways, and the team is making strides to get better every day.

“This is a team that beat us badly last year,” said Zeliger. “It was closer than the score makes it sound. Shaking off the rust takes time,” he admitted, but the sophomore emphatically believes that the team can improve on last season’s effort and get their record over .500 for the season.

Coach Ishida is a huge part of this. In his first year, he has altered the team’s practice schedule to allow for more individual practice time, better allowing each player to improve his game. Though the season got off on a somewhat sour note, Ishida said the team is improving every day and that better things are to come.

“We had a great preseason, great first week of practice,” he said. “I think our time together has been really well spent. We’re looking forward to facing Wabash [College] next week. They’re a team that we see every year, but that’s different every year.”

With the home match against Wabash on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 9 a.m., the Yeomen will look to get on the board with their first win of the season.