Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Men’s Tennis Takes Down Two OAU Opponents


The Oberlin men’s tennis team triumphed in matches in an easy victory against Otterbein University at home and a scrappy win against Ohio Northern University on the road last week.

The Yeomen easily dispatched the Otterbein Cardinals on Oberlin’s indoor courts last Wednesday. The Oberlin squad secured two doubles wins and collected five more in singles to cruise to a 7–2 victory. They replicated the result from the teams’ last meeting, when Oberlin trounced Otterbein 6–1 two years ago.

Oberlin returned to competition on Sunday with a hard-fought win against Ohio Northern. The Yeomen traveled two hours to Ada to notch a narrow 5–4 victory over the Polar Bears. With the win, Oberlin toppled the top team in the Ohio Athletic Conference, as judged by the league’s preseason coaches’ poll.

Fourth-year veteran Rohan Gold was encouraged by his doubles win against Otterbein. 

“I’ve been playing with a new partner, [first-year] Zain Makada. … We started off shaky [but] were able to use our chemistry and ultimately take the match,” Gold said.

The duo of second-year Shawn Lisann and third-year Sebastien Naginski won the first doubles match, but the Polar Bears downed the Yeomen in the second and third matches to carry a 2–1 lead into singles. Oberlin launched a comeback with three Yeomen earning two-set wins to close the gap. Lisann soundly defeated his left-handed opponent 6–2, 6–3, while Makada bested an Ohio Northern fourth-year and also dropped just five games. Gold added a point with his 7–5, 6–3 win to level the score at 4–4. 

After Gold’s match concluded, only Naginski’s match remained to determine the team result. Ohio Northern’s T.J. Schultz walloped Naginski 6–0 in the first set, but Naginski was undeterred and refused to dwell on the poor first set. 

“I tried to wipe everything from my memory except for the things that I [thought] would benefit me,” Naginski said.

In the second set, he bounced back to take the next set 6–2. Naginski held steady to win the final set 6–3 and deliver Oberlin a clutch 5–4 victory. Naginski said that he could sense the team gaining momentum during his match. 

“I had a little bit of time to mentally brace myself for being the last match before it actually happened,” he said.

The Ohio Northern match was the team’s second outdoor contest of the spring season. Gold spoke on the challenges of playing outdoors.

“There was pretty strong wind on the court which impacted all of our games, so it forced us to adapt,” Gold said. “I thought the team did a really good job of overcoming those adverse conditions.” 

Following the match, Lisann was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week. Lisann appreciated the recognition, but emphasized that the team played well across the board. 

“I feel like it could have gone to any one of us,” Lisann said. 

The matches showed progress from Oberlin’s doubles pairs. Naginski was proud of his performances with Lisann. 

“Shawn and I are doing very well in doubles,” Naginski said. “I think we had a couple of very good matches.”

With last week’s wins, Oberlin improved its season record to 4–3. The Yeomen had previously bested Kalamazoo College and the Illinois Institute of Technology, while the team’s losses came against talented opponents. This included Division II Walsh University and Case Western Reserve University — the top-ranked Division III program in the country.

Head Coach Eric Ishida was pleased with the effort that the team gave this past week and acknowledged that there is plenty of room to improve.

“I think we showed a lot of grit in our singles matches, winning most of the three-setters we played,” Ishida said. “That’s something we can build off of as we move into the next matches. Now, we’re working on our doubles and our personalized singles strategies.”

In the North Coast Athletic Conference preseason poll, conference coaches ranked the Yeomen fifth in the league. Last year, Oberlin entered the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed, but lost to Wabash University in the first round. The Yeomen will face tough conference competition this year, as both Denison University and Kenyon College boast nationally ranked teams. 

Over spring break, the Yeomen will travel to South Carolina for a series of matches on Hilton Head Island. Conference competition begins April 6, when the Yeomen take on DePauw University in Greencastle, IN.

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