By Daniel Herrick
The Men’s Tennis team’s four-game winning streak came to an end when they lost 7-2 at home to the University of Chicago last Sunday. The Hornets were defeated in all three double’s matches before dropping four of the six singles matches. Brandon Metzler was victorious at one singles (6-2, 6-2), and junior David DeSimone secured a point at four singles (6-4, 6-2).
The match was a brief break in the team’s conference schedule before they will travel to Hope on Tuesday (April 8). Kalamazoo will enter the match with a perfect 4-0 record in the MIAA and will be looking to put a stamp on history for this year’s team. A win would guarantee the Hornets a share of the MIAA championship, extending their infamous championship streak to 76 years.
“We know that this match can continue the streak and that Hope, like the rest of the MIAA, will give us their best match,” said senior Skippy Faber. “We know not to take anything lightly. The first goal of our season is always to secure a conference championship.”
Following the matchup at Hope, the team will play host to our much larger neighbor in a cross-division competition with Division I Western Michigan. The matchup with Western is a yearly event that allows the team to compete against the highest level of competition in college tennis. This is a common event for Division III competitors and is seen by other Kalamazoo College sports, including Men’s Soccer and Basketball.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to test ourselves against a big Division-one program,” said Faber. “However, we treat it like any other match. We go in with a mindset that if we play our game, and play our best tennis, do the little things right, then we feel that we can challenge the best.”
The Hornets will finish out the week with another home matchup against Gustavus Adolphus. The Golden Gusties were ranked number 18 in the ITA national ranking released on March 27. Their number one singles player, Mya Smith-Dennis, was ranked number eight in the region in the same release of rankings. In order to qualify for the national single’s or double’s tournament, a player must be ranked in the top eight of their region.
Kalamazoo number one Brandon Metzler, ranked number 11 in the region, is currently trending up toward that number eight spot for a chance to compete at nationals. Against Chicago, Metzler was able to secure a solid win by defeating number 16 in the region Deepak Sebada. A reported turf-toe injury denied Metzler the opportunity to match up with number-four Sven Kranz.
Since the release of the rankings, Smith-Dennis has gone 1-3, all while playing at two singles. It’s unclear whether he will be the matchup for Metzler at one singles come Sunday. Playing one singles for the Gusties over that stretch has been regionally ranked number-25 John Luis Chu.
While the rest of us look forward, the team is still focused on the current moment. Hope College is next up and a chance the secure the conference championship is on the line. Following the match against Hope, if the weather continues to cooperate, the Hornets will host Western Michigan at Stowe Stadium on Thursday evening at 6:00 pm.