The Binghamton University men’s tennis team reached new heights during the fall season. Senior Sven Vloedgraven, the Bearcats’ undisputed top player, won the ITA Northeast Regional Championship and saw his national ranking rise to No. 55. Junior Alexandre Haggai, senior Arnav Jain and junior Gilbert Wong all had strong fall seasons and are all ranked in Northeast Regional rankings. The Bearcats’ team ranking improved to No. 50. Fifth-year head coach Adam Cohen has the experience needed to lead the Bearcats to a fourth-consecutive American East Championship. However, none of these accolades meant anything to East Tennessee State University and Cornell University, both of whom convincingly defeated the Bearcats in the ITA Kickoff event at the University of Virginia over the weekend.
On Friday, No. 51 East Tennessee State University (ETSU) handed the Bearcats a defeat in their season opener, 6-1. Shockingly, unranked Sander Gille defeated Vloedgraven in straight sets by a score of 6-4, 6-2 and Jain’s 26-match win streak was snapped by Grega Teraz in third singles as Teraz won in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3. Despite the poor play by the single players, the doubles teams were in midseason form, winning two out of three matches. First, Jain and Haggai took down ETSU’s top-two singles players, Gille and No. 73 Jesus Bandres, 8-5 in second doubles. Then, Vloedgraven teamed up with Wong in first doubles and avenged Jain’s loss in his singles match by defeating Teraz and Charles Bottoni 8-6 and in the process clinching the doubles point, gaining the Bearcats’ only point of the day. Haggai pushed Bandres to a third set in second singles, but Bandres ended up winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Bottoni defeated Wong 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-2 in fourth singles.
The next day, the Bearcats once again showed early-season jitters, losing to upstate New York rival No. 66 Cornell University in the consolation match, 6-1. Vloedgraven uncharacteristically lost his second singles match in a row, falling to No. 80 Andy Gauthier in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. While his teammates struggled, Jain redeemed himself against Cornell by winning the third singles match in an exciting three-set tiebreak and teamed up with Haggai to defeat Gauthier and Jeremy Feldman 8-6 in second doubles. Haggai, Wong and sophomores Ruben Devos and Bastian Bornkessel all lost in straight sets in their singles matches.
The Bearcats are now a disappointing 0-2 to start off this spring season. The team is set to travel to Lincoln, Neb. on Feb. 11-12 to take on the University of Nebraska and Western Michigan University.