The struggles continued for the Binghamton University men’s tennis team this past weekend when its losing streak extended to six matches after the Bearcats lost to two Ivy League foes, Harvard University and Yale University.
Things got off to a rocky start on Friday night when the Bearcats (2-9) dropped their first doubles match to host Harvard (7-6) at the Murr Center Tennis Courts. The doubles tandem of senior Sven Vloedgraven, who is ranked 79th in the country, and junior Gilbert Wong is usually Binghamton’s bread and butter, so its loss didn’t bode well for the Bearcats. Senior Arnav Jain and junior Alexandre Haggai would salvage one doubles match, winning theirs by a score of 7-5, 6-4, but it was all in vain. Sophomore Bastian Bornkessel and freshman Ruben Haggai dropped their doubles match to give Harvard the point.
Vloedgraven and Jain both continued their dominance as they won their singles matches in straight sets. Vloedgraven took his match 6-4, 6-0, while Jain won his by a score of 7-5, 6-4. Binghamton head coach Adam Cohen is pleased with their performances this year.
“We have two of the best players in the entire region,” Cohen said. “[Vloedgraven and Jain] have only lost a couple of matches and that’s it. So if we can just get some of these other guys to win some of their close matches and raise their level of play, it would go a long way. And they can do it; it’s just not happening right now.”
Unfortunately for Binghamton, Alexandre Haggai, Wong, Bornkessel and Ruben Haggai all lost their singles matches and Harvard won by a final score of 5-2. Cohen knows that the team’s play at these lower singles matches have been the problem this year.
“For us, the bottom line is that we still need the players at the bottom of our team to win,” Cohen said. “We’ve only won one match at No. 6 singles. That’s 12 matches and we’ve only taken one. To be the team that we want to be, we need to win at the bottom. We’ve also yet to win one match at No. 3 doubles. It puts a lot of pressure on No. 1 and No. 2 because if they both don’t win, we’re going to lose the doubles point.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Bearcats made things much more interesting as they visited Yale at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. Yale (6-5) was seeking to avenge its 4-3 loss to the Bearcats at the Eastern College Athletic Conference quarterfinals three weeks ago.
The Bearcats yet again dropped the doubles point despite an 8-5 win by Vloedgraven and Wong.
Vloedgraven won his singles match again 6-3, 6-3, and Jain also got a victory, winning 6-3, 6-2.
Despite a 6-3, 6-4 singles win by Wong, Alexandre Haggai lost his singles match, 6-4, 6-2, and Bornkessel lost his match, 6-1, 6-1. So with the score tied 3-3, the stage was set for Ruben Haggai and Yale senior Jordan Abergel to determine the team winner in the final match of the meeting.
Haggai fell into a deep hole early as Abergel jumped to a 5-1 start, but he relentlessly stormed back and was able to even the set, 5-5. But that was as close as Haggai would come, as Abergel sealed the match for Yale when he captured the last two games to give him a 7-5 victory.
“We’re basically in every single match,” Cohen said. “We’re just not able to win the close matches right now. In doubles, in singles, everything seems to be going the opponents’ way in these matches over the last several weeks. We’re right in there with all of these teams; no one is crushing us or anything. We just haven’t been able to get the breaks.”
Next weekend, the Bearcats are scheduled to head to Rhode Island to try and snap their six-match losing skid against Brown University and the University of Memphis. Binghamton is scheduled to play Brown at 5 p.m. on Friday, while game time has not yet been announced for Saturday’s matchup against Memphis.