Count on the men's tennis team for some great performances this season, because it's on a roll.
Off and running after a double-win weekend, Princeton swept George Washington at the Lenz Tennis Center yesterday afternoon.
"They're a good team," senior No. 1 Jon Gilula said. "We just played really well."
With its impressive 7-0 win over the visiting Colonials, the Tigers (10-7 overall, 3-1 Ivy League) extended their winning streak to four matches since losing to California-Santa Barbara March 20.
Tough at the top
Don't let yesterday's final score be too misleading, for GW did challenge Princeton at the top three positions. Gilula's match lasted three sets, only to be decided by a tiebreaker in which he defeated GW's Anders Bergkvist, 6-1, 1-6, 7-6.
"I played him the last two years," Gilula said. "I knew it was going to be a tough match."
After squeaking by, 7-5, in a long first set, freshman No. 2 Kyle Kliegerman continued his efforts, winning the second set, 6-3, to seal his victory over Kent Wright.
Junior No. 3 Ahn Ahn Liu also had a close match, beating Brad Shafran, 6-4, in the first set and edging past him, 7-6, in a tiebreaker to capture his win.
The bottom of the Colonials' ladder had little to offer, as the Tigers secured all three wins in two relatively easy sets. Junior No. 4 Jeff Schachter beat his opponent, Scott Lowder, 6-4, 6-2, while junior No. 5 Patrick Sweeney defeated Even Harte, 6-2, 6-1. Securing the No. 6 position for the Tigers was sophomore Shiv Vasisht, who won over Mike Stein, 6-2, 6-0.
In doubles, GW pressured Princeton for the top position, as Gilula and Kliegerman won the No. 1 match, 8-6, over Bergkvist and Shafran. In the No. 2 doubles slot, junior Kevin Woo and Schachter easily beat Lowder and Harte, 8-1. Liu and Sweeney completed the Tigers' doubles sweep with their 8-3 victory over Brett Grossman and Wright.
With this match under their belt, the Tigers have the confidence they need to continue a winning season. To add to the difficulty of the already challenging Ivy schedule, this year's team has been plagued with injuries. Woo has been unable to play singles due to a bone spur. Sophomores Scott Borenstein and David Schonbraun have also succumbed to injuries – Borenstein is still out with a twisted ankle, while Schonbraun is coming back from knee surgery.
Nevertheless, these Tigers press on, sometimes with new doubles pairings and switched lineups.
"I am impressed with the way the team has dealt with adversity this year," Gilula said.
This weekend at the Lenz Center the Tigers will host Navy, yet another step as Princeton attempts to make a run at the NCAA tournament. Six teams from the region will earn berths in the tourney, and if the Tigers continue at this level of play, the season may extend well after April. If injuries persist, however, Princeton may find itself with nothing to do come the first week of May.