The men’s tennis team (17-10) had a very busy week in which they played nine games and had a chance to break the record for most wins in a single season. At the time of publication, the Highlanders have won six of the first seven matches to surpass the previous record of 16 wins.
The first match of the week took place on Monday, March 25 against 2-15 North Carolina A&T State University. UCR won the first doubles matchup on court three, but NCAT bounced back by winning on courts one and two to earn the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead. However, Riverside was unshaken and continued to dominate singles play, winning five of the six singles matches on their way to securing a 5-2 victory.
The Highlanders had little time to rest as their second match of the week took place only a day later at 6 a.m. against Shaw University (4-5), in which Riverside would again come out victorious, 4-1. The Bears earned their lone point through two wins on the doubles side while UCR again dominated on the singles side, winning all six matchups.
The third match came only hours later at 12 p.m. against Campbell University (11-4). The Highlanders were unable to stretch their winning streak any further, losing to the Camels 4-3. Riverside again lost the doubles point to the opposition, getting swept in quick succession. UCR was unable to dominate in singles play against such a strong opponent as they had in previous matches. Campbell won the first three singles matches to take a 4-0 lead, but the Highlanders won the final three to make the final score more respectable.
Riverside had another 6 a.m. start on Wednesday, March 27 against the Methodist University Monarchs (4-9). UCR bounced back from their loss against Campbell and showed few signs of fatigue in an 8-1 victory despite the amount of games played in the week. The match was played under the nine point system, where each match won counts as one point. As the scoreboard indicates, Riverside put on a dominant performance, winning eight of the nine total matches.
The team’s next match came later that day against North Carolina Central University (3-9) which was played under the traditional seven point system. Riverside won the first doubles match on court two, but the Eagles won on court three which set up a rubber match for the doubles point on court one. The team of senior Anderson Ju and sophomore Vignesh Subramanyan came up big in a 7-6, 7-5, win to give the Highlanders the doubles point that had been eluding them. The teams split the first four singles matches, making the score 3-2 in UCR’s favor before Ju and freshman Andreas Whelan-Merediz collected two more points to make the final score 5-2. This victory also set up a big day on Thursday with the opportunity to tie the program record in wins with 16 and surpass it in the second game of their double header.
The first game took place early in the morning and Riverside was able to string their third straight win in a 6-1 performance against Hampton University Convocation Center (1-11). The two sides split the two doubles matches before the doubles point was given to the Highlanders by default. UCR would win the first three singles matches and take a 4-0 lead which effectively ended the match. Hampton University and Riverside would split the next two singles matches and UCR was awarded the final singles point by default. This marked win number 16, and a chance to surpass the most wins in a single season in program history.
The second game of the day was against Norfolk State (3-6) where the Highlanders broke the previous record for most wins in a single season. Riverside swept the doubles side, easily earning the doubles point to go up 1-0. The two teams went back and forth on the singles sides through four matches, making the score 3-2 in UCR’s favor. Once again Ju and Merediz came through in the final two singles matches to make the final score 5-2.
This marks the fourth straight season in which UCR men’s tennis team has broken their single season wins record. The team has been steadily improving under the stewardship of Head Coach Mattias Johansson and they still have the opportunity to add more wins to the record with eight more matches left to play.