Yeomen Dominate on Road to Push Streak to 4


Effie Kline-Salamon

Junior Callan Louis follows through on a shot in a match against the Indiana Tech University Warriors on Friday, Feb. 27. The men’s tennis team has won four matches in a row heading into a showdown this Saturday at home against the John Carroll University Blue Streaks.

Jackie McDermott, Sports Editor

The men’s tennis team pushed its winning streak to four after earning commanding road victories over the Earlham College Quakers and conference rival Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops last Saturday.

The Yeomen took immediate control of Saturday’s first contest, winning all three doubles matches against the Battling Bishops. Senior Soren Zeliger and junior Callan Louis got the team off to a strong start when they won a tight No. 1 doubles match 9–8, and the No. 2 doubles pairing of sophomore Ian Paik and first-year Michael Drougas shut out their opponents in an 8–0 win. Sophomores Abraham Davis and Billy Lennon followed suit, completing the doubles sweep with a comfortable 8–4 victory in the No. 3 flight.

Head Coach Eric Ishida said he was pleased with the way his players made quick work of a competitive Ohio Wesleyan team and praised Paik and Drougas for their doubles success.

“[A] big factor in the weekend was confidence in each other,” Ishida said in an email to the Review. “For example, Michael Drougas and Ian Paik won their doubles match quickly, which put us on the scoreboard 25 minutes into the match and resulted in momentum and purpose to finish the other matches.”

Drougas and Davis carried their momentum into singles play, grabbing decisive wins in the No. 2 and No. 4 flights respectively. Drougas won 6–2, 6–2, while Davis breezed past his opponent 6–4, 6–0. Paik saw tougher competition in the No. 1 flight but walked away with a 6–3, 6–4 win. Louis also stayed focused through a competitive match, ultimately coming away victorious in the No. 3 singles slot 6–3, 6–3.

Two matches in the bottom half of the lineup went to three sets. First-year Manickam Manickam took home the victory in the No. 6 spot, winning the first set 6–4, falling in a close second 4–6, and clinching the third-set tiebreaker 10–6. Zeliger fell 6–3, 2–6, 10–8 in his hard fought match, allowing Ohio Wesleyan to pick up its lone point. Reflecting on the matches, Zeliger said the Yeomen have adjusted to handling adversity better this year than in the past.

“The biggest improvements for the team in general [so far this season] … have to do with how we handle match situations,” Zeliger said. “There was a sense of tentativeness in the first few matches, which is expected with a young team, and we have done a good job of correcting it since.”

Paik and Drougas also dominated their No. 2 doubles opponents in the second match of the day against Earlham, as Oberlin swept doubles play once again. Davis and Lennon came out with a 8–2 victory, while Louis and Zeliger were once again locked in a close contest. The upperclassmen duo prevailed in another tiebreaker, winning 9–8 in the top flight.

Singles play against Earlham followed a similar pattern as the Ohio Wesleyan match, with Paik, Manickam and Louis all pulling out close wins. Paik won in three sets at the top spot 4–6, 6–4, 7–6 (10–7).

At the No. 5 spot, Zeliger was able to turn his luck from his earlier singles match, winning 6–2, 6–2. Drougas and Davis also earned two more points at the No. 2 and No. 4 spots. Ishida said that Davis has made a habit out of providing wins at his important middle-of-the-lineup position.

“[Davis] has clinched — won the fifth and deciding point — in four matches this year,” Ishida said. This is an amazing accomplishment and a testament to how efficient he has been.”

Ishida also pointed out the contributions Davis has provided in doubles.

“Having [Davis’] success in doubles, with partner Billy Lennon, added to his singles wins, has really helped our team’s confidence when it comes to closing out an important match,” Ishida said.

While Davis said he believes he has grown stronger and improved his physical game, he attributed his success this year to improvements in his competitive mindset with a goal of improving every time he steps onto the court.

“The biggest improvements to my game have definitely been mental. Physically, maybe I’ve grown a bit and gotten a bit stronger, but maturing mentally is the key from here on out,” Davis said. “[My] personal goal [for the season] is cliché, but I want to just try my best at every practice and every match.”

The Yeomen have recently put a particular focus on using their practice time for inter-squad singles play, and Ishida said the improvement in his team’s match mindset already shows.

“The inter-squad match play was very beneficial to our success this weekend,” Ishida said. “[It allowed us] to practice competitive situations while pushing each other mentally and physically. When we had tough situations this weekend, we were confident and calm. To put it simply, I think we were well-prepared and more disciplined than the competition this weekend.”

Looking ahead, the Yeomen will host John Carroll University this Saturday at 12:30 p.m., hoping to extend their winning streak to five games.