MARION, Ind. – The season officially got underway for the Goshen College men's tennis team, losing 6-3 to host Indiana Wesleyan University Thursday evening.
The match got off to a rough start as the Wildcats rolled to a 3-0 lead sweeping doubles action 8-2, 8-3, and 8-6. The Maple Leafs actually held leads in all three matches, but dropped seven straight games at No. 1, six consecutive at No. 2 and the final three at No. 3 to head into singles with the large deficit.
"We started the season losing to a strong opponent who was especially tough on us in the top four singles and top two doubles positions," head coach Stan King explained. "A stronger doubles showing would have made the score closer, and could perhaps, given us the match."
A great sign for Goshen, though, was the battles they put up in singles play, including a pair of come-from-behind three-set victories. In the No. 2 singles match, freshman Balazs Pirot (Herceghalom, Hungary) dropped the first set 6-1, but then saw a 5-2 lead in the second slip away. He quickly regrouped to even the match with a 7-5 second-set win and then stormed out to a 9-1 lead in the super tiebreaker before taking the match 10-4.
"It was good to see Balazs adjust his game and play through some frustration to overcome an opponent who was a master of spin, placement, and retrieval," King said.
The other comeback was at No. 5 singles where another freshman, Thiago Amaral (Piracicaba, Brazil) lost the first set 6-2 and trailed 5-1 in the second. He rallied, taking the next five games, won a second-set tiebreak, and then snatched the super tiebreaker by a 10-7 count for his first collegiate win.
"Thiago upped his game a notch, relentlessly attacking his opponent's backhand," King explained. "In the super tiebreaker, Thiago and his opponent pretty much exchanged points until he won the last five. I was impressed with his toughness and ability to focus on a style of play that suited him well and made things difficult for his opponent."
The other Maple Leaf victory was at No. 6 singles where senior Ryan Wengerd (Goshen, Ind.) fell behind 2-0 before taking the next nine games and the match. Senior Csaba Laszlo (Sopron, Hungary) also had a strong battle at No. 1 singles (6-3, 6-2), which King noted was closer than the final score suggested.
"Our play today suggests our team could be a fun group of guys to watch this season," the 14th-year head coach concluded.
Goshen (0-1, 0-1 CL) will be back in action on Monday when they travel to Marian University in Indianapolis.
Indiana Wesleyan 6, Goshen 3
1. Kyle Johnson (W) def Csaba Laszlo 6-3, 6-2
2. Balazs Pirot (G) def Leonard Mathews 1-6, 7-5, 10-4
3. Brandon DuBuque (W) def Jon Kaasa 6-1, 6-1
4. Alex McManhan (W) def Krishnan Ganesan 6-1, 6-2
5. Thiago Amaral (G) def Brooks Ayers 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-7
6. Ryan Wengerd (G) def Daniel Stoddard 6-2, 3-0 retired
1. Johnson/McManhan (W) def Laszlo/Krishnan 8-2
2. Mathews/DuBuque (W) def Pirot/Kaasa 8-3
3. Ayers/Stoddard (W) def Amaral/Wengerd 8-6
Daniel Buschert (G) def Alan Murphy 8-4
Seth Krabill (G) def Kamen Tabor 8-4
Drew Schoonmaker (W) def Jackson Beck 8-0
Russell Kellner (W) def Armando Nunez 8-6
Alex Hornet (W) def Daniel Buschert 8-0
Seth Krabill (G) def Austin Doerr 8-0
Daniel Smith (W) def Armando Nunez 8-2
Alex Hornet/Daniel Smith (W) def Buschert/Krabill 8-3
Ryan Smith/Tyler York (W) def Beck/Nunez 8-4