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The Dartmouth
April 13, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Men’s tennis places seventh at ECAC Indoor Championship

After losing its first two tournament matches, Dartmouth rallied to beat Brown University on the final day to avoid a last-place finish.

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Last weekend, men’s tennis hosted the Eastern College Athletic Conference Indoor Championship at the Boss Tennis Center. The Big Green lost its first two matches against Columbia University and Yale University, but ended the weekend on a positive note with a win against Brown University in the seventh-place match.

Columbia defeated the Big Green 4-1 on Friday and Yale picked up where the Lions left off, downing the Big Green by a 4-3 score on Saturday. Dartmouth’s Sunday victory over the Bears came in thrilling fashion, by a score of 4-3 and decided by a three-set singles match by Logan Chang ’24

The Boss Tennis Center hosts the ECAC Indoor Championship once every eight years, making last weekend a very important event for the team. Many students came out to support the Big Green at home.

“We had a great turnout for that match [against Columbia] as well,” Waleed Qadir ’26 said, noting that there were over 100 Dartmouth fans in attendance.

Despite the surge of Dartmouth students in the stands, the Lions started off the match strong, taking the doubles point with a decisive 6-1 win over Carlos Guerrero Alvarez ’25 and Hikaru Takeda ’25 first, and a 6-2 win over partners Chang and Alex Knox-Jones ’25 second. Those two wins clinched the point, cutting off the third doubles match part way through with Qadir and Miles Groom ’26 trailing 5-3. 

There were several close matches in the singles, but Knox-Jones earned the only victory over the Lions for the Big Green. Prior to Knox-Jones’s win, Guerrero Alvarez and Takeda took losses; Takeda suffered his first singles loss of the season after six straight wins. Groom then lost his singles match, clinching victory for the Lions.

Head coach Xander Centenari said that, despite the final score, he was impressed with his team’s performance.

“On Friday night, we played a really good match,” Centenari said. “There was a session of probably 30 minutes or so where it looked like we may be able to turn the tables on them.”

Two days after taking this opening match against Dartmouth, Columbia would go on to win the tournament outright.

Despite the team’s loss, Knox-Jones said that played his best and credits part of his win to the support of his team and the crowd.

“I played my best singles match of the year by far against Columbia,” Knox-Jones said. “There were a lot of people behind me and I had the best energy.”

The Big Green did not let their previous loss get to them on Saturday and played Yale down to the wire — with the 4-3 loss decided by the number six singles match.

Dartmouth started Saturday morning off strong, winning the doubles point. The day started with a 6-3 win from Takeda and Guerro Alvarez, while Knox-Jones and Chang followed with a well-fought 7-5 loss, leaving the doubles point up to Qadir and Groom. 

“Following that loss [against Columbia], the next day we were pretty hungry to avenge it,” Qadir said.

Qadir and Groom did exactly that after having their match the previous day cut short, delivering a phenomenal performance and winning a 7-6 nailbiter, securing the doubles point for Dartmouth. The freshmen duo’s record for doubles now stands at 6-1.

The Big Green went into the singles matches with the one-point lead, but the Bulldogs caught up to Dartmouth quickly. 

The first three singles matches ended in two-set wins for Yale. Henry Ren ’26 stopped the bleeding with a two-set victory on Court Four, remaining undefeated in singles this season. Takeda backed up Ren’s effort with a three-set victory, leaving Dartmouth and Yale tied 3-3.

The winner of the day came down to the match between Knox-Jones and Yale's Walker Oberg. The match was a three-set thriller, but it ended in favor of the Bulldogs, giving them a 4-3 victory on the day.

“If it doesn’t swing our way, we’re going to be okay,” Centenari said. “We’re going to wake up the next day and either we compete in another match or we’re practicing for the next one.” 

After the two losses, the Big Green came into the third day of the championship slated to play Brown for seventh place.

The Big Green started off hot in the doubles matches against Brown. Just like the day before, Takeda and Guerro Alvarez took the first win for Dartmouth, dominating the Bears 6-1. Chang and Ren followed them with another 6-3 win for the Big Green, allowing Dartmouth to gain the early lead. The freshmen duo Qadir and Groom again had their match cut short, but this time due to a Dartmouth victory.

The singles matches started off with Groom and Takeda earning back-to-back two-set wins to extend the Dartmouth lead. The Bears rallied quickly, though, grabbing the next three singles matches to level the score at 3-3, just like Dartmouth’s previous match. 

The win came down to a match between Chang and Brown’s Alex Koong. The three-set nailbiter went Chang’s way, securing a dramatic 4-3 win for the Big Green, and helping the team avoid a last-place finish in the tournament.

Centenari said that he knows that his players are prepared for stressful situations like the decisive games that finished Dartmouth’s second two matches.

“We talk about just simply playing one point at a time,”  Centenari said. “All of our guys would tell you that they want to be in that situation, where the match comes down to them.”

After the ECAC Indoor Championship, the Big Green now sits at fourth place in the Ivy League standings, though no official conference games have yet been played. The Big Green will be back in action at Boss Tennis Center on Sunday, hosting Colgate University.