It's all about doubles.
Winning doubles matches is the key to winning matches, that is.
Yesterday afternoon, well below ground on Jadwin's E floor, the men's tennis team beat the visiting Temple Owls, 6-1, to put Princeton at .500 with an overall record of 6-6.
The last time these two teams faced each other, the Tigers scraped by with a 4-3 win. That match also included a nationally-ranked No. 1 seed for Temple, who was not in the lineup yesterday, due to another tennis involvement.
"If he had played, I think it would have been tougher," junior Jeff Schachter said. "Without him, they didn't really have a chance."
To set up the Tigers' win, both the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches were won by Princeton, leading the way for an almost unstoppable singles lineup.
Playing the top doubles spot, were senior Jon Gilula and freshman Kyle Kliegerman, who won, 8-3. Borenstein and Schachter captured another win, 8-6.
The pairing of Schachter and Borenstein is a change in the lineup for the Tigers. Due to an injury, junior Kevin Woo is still unable to play with his usual partner Schachter, yet the Schachter-Borenstein pairing was successful against the Owls.
"Schachter and I hadn't played together for weeks," Borenstein said.
"It was a little hard because we came out to a slow start," Schachter said. "I had to get used to a new partner."
Into the flow
Despite a shaky start, Schachter and Borenstein played much better once they got acquainted with each other's game.
"They started off playing well," Borenstein said. "They didn't miss a first serve in the first four games. After we broke them at 6-3, from there we pretty much rolled."
The Tigers' No. 2 doubles team, consisting of sophomore Ahn Ahn Liu and junior Patrick Sweeny could not blame their 8-1 loss on missing partners. With total doubles match records of 7-7 and14-7 respectively, the loss to Temple's Ro Pivcevic and freshman Go Sazaki came as a surprise.
"I think it was just a fluke match," Liu said. "We've been doing well all season."
Last man standing
Leading the Tigers' five singles victories was Kliegerman. The No. 2 player was the last to remain on the courts, winning, 7-6, 6-3, in the only single match that included a tiebreaker.
Other notable Princeton victories were No. 3 Liu (6-4, 6-1), No. 4 Schachter (6-1, 6-0), No. 5 Sweeney (6-3, 6-1) and No. 6 Borenstein, 6-2, 6-1.
"I really wanted to come back after losing doubles," Liu said. "I felt I played well and I didn't want to go back without a win."
Yesterday's contest marked the eighth singles win for Schachter, who has lost only once in the nine matches he has played in this year.
"He's just solid," sophomore David Schonbraun said. "He's had the best year of anyone on the team."
"He is our strongest player relative to his position: he is a solid No. 4," said junior Shiv Vasisht.
The year has not been so kind to Gilula, who plays at No. 1 singles for the Tigers. Despite his doubles success, Gilula has been able to secure only one win in his nine singles matches this year. That win came against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Yesterday's match was no exception, as he fell to the Owls' Pivcevic, 6-1, 6-3.
"He's a tough player," Gilula said. "To win that match, I have to be playing at a better level and I just wasn't doing it."
This weekend Princeton has its hands full, taking on Ivy rival Yale Saturday and hosting Brown Sunday.