At the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Indoor Championship this weekend, men’s tennis defeated the Penn Quakers 4–3 before falling to the Harvard Crimson 4–2 in the semifinals. The Tigers faced off against Dartmouth in the third place game, a repeat of last year, and emerged victorious with a final score of 4–1.
Princeton “escaped” with their 4–3 win against Penn, according to head coach Billy Pate. The Quakers won last year’s tournament and proved their difficulty as opponents against the Tigers. Senior Payton Holden and junior Ryan Seggerman, ranked No. 8 nationally as a doubles pair, defeated Penn’s Kevin Zhu and Dmitry Shatalin in the Tigers’ only doubles win. Penn took the other two doubles sets 7–6 and 6–3, earning the doubles point for the match. No. 5 sophomore Will Peters won his sets 6–4 and 6–3, putting the Tigers up 2–1 after Seggerman fell at No. 2. No. 1 sophomore Karl Poling and No. 3 sophomore Justin Barki pushed out victories after three sets each, bringing the overall score to 3–3. All eyes were on senior Davey Roberts at the No. 6 match. Roberts bounced back after losing his first set 6–1 and won the next two 7–6 and 6–4, sending Princeton to the semifinals.
The Tigers won the first two doubles matches of the next round against Harvard and were on track to win the third — Barki and junior Damian Rodriguez were up 5–4 — before the match ended because Princeton earned the doubles point in the majority of matches. Unfortunately, the team’s luck ended there. The only singles win for the team came from Roberts’ 7–6, 7–5 match against the Crimson’s Steven Sun at No. 6. Harvard won 4–2 and advanced to the final against the Cornell Big Red while Princeton headed to the third place match against Dartmouth.
The Big Green and the Tigers also faced off in the third place match of this tournament exactly one year ago, where Dartmouth stomped Princeton 4–0.
This year, things were a little different. After doubles sets wins by Holden and Seggerman, as well as Poling with sophomore Bill Duo, Princeton earned the doubles point (Barki and Rodriguez once again didn’t finish). The first singles match-up was Princeton’s only loss to the Big Green this year. Duo fell 6–1, 6–1 to Dartmouth’s Dominik Pauli. Peters earned his win 6–2, 6–3 while Seggerman and Poling won in three sets each.
“It was a valuable weekend for us to play three highly competitive matches and finding ourselves in a battle in each of them,” Pate told Princeton Athletics. “We were able to grow as a team and improve for the next slate of matches at the Blue Gray."
After traveling to Alabama for next weekend’s Blue Gray National Tennis Classic, the team has eight more matches before Ivy League play begins.