Yeomen Crush OWU Bishops

Tyler Sloan, Editor in Chief

With key players resting injuries in the singles matches against the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops, first-year Yeoman Ian Paik picked up the slack and notched his first singles victory in the No. 1 spot.

Paik, a Portland, OR native, won the first set of the match but left Yeomen fans nervous after his opponent teetered on the edge of a comeback. It was not until late in the second set that was he was able to shut down Richie Karban of the Battling Bishops, who Oberlin Head Coach Eric Ishida called Ohio Wesleyan’s best player.

“Ian played really well in the first set and answered a late surge by OWU’s best player to win the second set and match,” Ishida said, noting that this was also the most exciting moment of the tournament for the Yeomen.

Paik was not the only underclassman to brush off the Battling Bishops’ efforts. Fellow first-years Abraham Davis and Lucas Brown and sophomore Brandon McKenna all won singles victories. In the doubles matches, the Yeomen saw success from power duo senior Charlie Marks and sophomore Callan Louis, last year’s North Coast Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year, in the No. 1 seed. Junior Soren Zeliger and Davis clinched the No. 2 spot in their doubles event.

Ultimately, first-year Paul Farah ended the singles match in the No. 4 spot, concluding Saturday’s events in which the Yeomen quashed the Battling Bishops with an overall 9–0 win. McKenna attributed the success of the team to an increasingly intense work ethic over the past few weeks.

“We’ve been competing pretty hard in practice on a daily basis, and, as of late, the intensity and overall energy has risen drastically. I feel like that’s been a major component in our improvement, and our ability to transfer that intensity from the practice courts to match play was definitely a huge factor in getting that 9–0 win,” McKenna said.

This work ethic is evident in the evenly spread success across the team’s roster. With nine out of eleven players competing in Saturday’s events and each one leaving triumphant, the goals are high for the young squad this season. The Yeomen anticipate tougher competition from conference opponents that they will face during spring break.

“I feel as though this match, as well as all the others we’ve played in the spring, showed that we can compete with anyone regardless of their level, be it Case Western, Cleveland State University, Wabash, or even OWU. This spring break stretch will really show us how good we really are rather than how good we could be,” Paik said.

Although the team has expressed excitement about last weekend’s success, members are tentative about getting overly confident. The Yeomen are set up for a season full of achievements with its young roster, but doubt that Ohio Wesleyan University is representative of other top competition coming from the NCAC. Oberlin will not shy away from the tough level of play that the conference has to offer this season.

“I feel good about the team moving forward; we are a much better team this year with lots of variety in the lineup,” Ishida said. “I think we are looking forward to future NCAC West matchups with Wooster, Allegheny and Kenyon. We are also looking forward to playing some central region opponents — DePauw, Carleton and Denison.”

Looking forward, the Yeomen will host John Carroll University on Saturday, March 15 at 11 a.m. in the Heisman Club Field House.