The Elizabethtown College men’s tennis team is off to a successful beginning after the Blue Jays came home from the King’s College Invitational with six flight championships on Sept. 19 and 20.
The team had a well-rounded group of returning players to lead the team to positive results. “This year we have a large group of returning players, junior Nathan Dowling said. “This itself is a strength for us because of the experience the team has as a whole, not only in terms of skill level, but regarding knowledge of the game and tactics we incorporate as a team.”
Four competitors from Etown were named champion twice including: senior Evan Hinkley, Dowling, sophomore Michael Yost and first-year Nick Strobel.
Hinkley and Strobel worked together in No. 3 doubles to conquer two athletes from Susquehanna University. Susquehanna’s Ryan Van Valin and Alex Dove could not outplay Hinkley and Strobel in the championship match, which ended with a score of 8-4.
In No. 2 doubles, Dowling and Yost defeated a Misericordia duo, 8-6, in the semifinals. The pair from Etown, which won the No. 3 doubles competition last year at the same event, took down Alex Cocolas and Nick Beal from Susquehanna with a score of 8-2.
Juniors Alex Machalick and Ryan Caris made their way to the championships of the no. 1 doubles. They made it past a pair from Misericordia in the semifinals, but were knocked off by George Parkhurst and Nathan Karl from King’s, 8-4.
Yost faced Marywood’s Brendan Brown and swept him 6-0, 6-0 in No. 3 single semifinals. In finals, Yost faced Deal and earned the victory, 6-1, 6-4. Machalik fell in the finals in No. 1 singles, while Caris fell in No. 2 singles in the final match.
In No. 4 singles, Hinkley worked his way up to the finals after winning two matches. In his second match against Cocolas in the semi-finals, Hinkley moved on after winning a super tiebreaker to reach the finals. He defeated a player from King’s to take home the title. At No. 5 and No. 6 singles, Dowling and Strobel each earned a victory with a 3-0 record, respectively.
Dowling has high hopes for the team’s future. “I think just getting to know each other and becoming more of a single unit will be beneficial for the team,” he said. “Building chemistry as a team will really contribute well later in the year.”
The Blue Jays will finish their fall schedule during the first week of October at the USTA-ITA Southeast Regional Championships in Fredericksburg, Va.