The Duquesne men’s tennis team has darted off to a 5-1 start in the 2015 season after most recently blanking Niagara 7-0 on Friday afternoon.
The Dukes will look to build off of that strong start in their upcoming match against Bucknell on Feb. 21, followed by a spring break trip to Florida, where the Dukes will face off against some tough competition. The Red and Blue will play three matches in four days against Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida Atlantic University, and Lynn University.
“The whole team is looking forward to getting out of the snow and getting to some warmer weather,” said senior captain Rich Robbie. “Lynn is the 5th best team in Division II, and FAU is a team with several wins over ranked teams over the past few weeks, competition that we don't get to see very often. We have been preparing extremely hard and smart over the past few weeks in order to be up to the challenge in Florida.”
The Dukes kicked off the spring season with a 6-1 rout of Morehead State University on Jan. 16. In this contest Duquesne was able to win five out of six singles matches as well as two of three doubles match-ups. Getting that first win was a strong way to start the season, but Robbie pointed to their second match against Youngstown State University as the biggest one so far this season.
“After winning the doubles point the match was neck and neck through the first 4 singles matches,” Robbie said. “We were leading 3-2 and our No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches were still playing. Andrew Ong, playing his second college tennis match, showed that even as freshman he could handle pressure like an aged veteran and was nerve-free in clinching the victory for the Dukes.”
Robbie (6-4, 6-3) Ong (6-2, 6-1), Alex Aleman (6-1, 6-1), and Harry Walshe (2-6, 6-3, 12-10) all won their singles matches leading the Dukes to a 5-2 victory over the Penguins.
With wins over Youngstown State, Morehead State, ASA College, Carnegie Mellon, and Niagara the 5-1 start is nothing to be ashamed of, but Robbie feels that the Dukes might have let one slip away.
“We are happy about our start but collectively disappointed with our lone loss to Toledo last Tuesday. The match was in reach. We had a great response to the tight loss to Toledo on Tuesday when we returned on Friday and took down Niagara U. 7-0. The guys showcased their ability to maintain a short memory, a trait you need in this sport to stay successful after having off days,” Robbie said.
With the upcoming spring break trip to Florida and conference season right around the corner, the guys have a lot to look forward to and many opportunities to improve before the A-10 Conference Championships come around in April. Currently Duquesne ranks 3rd in the A-10 Conference, but this season provides them with a chance to improve on that and challenge those top two teams.
“The conference has gotten stronger and so has the Duquesne Tennis squad and I fully believe the 2014-2015 season is the best chance my team and I have had to take home the A-10 title,” Robbie said. “Overall the team looks great, feels great, and is playing great tennis. We are all training day in and day out to be a major threat at the end-of-season A10 Championships in Cincinnati. This time of year always flies by and pretty soon we will be saying: ‘We're on to Cincinnati.’”