THE LEAD: Clark Men's Tennis participated in the Nichols Invitational Tournament at Nichols College in Dudley, MA on Sunday. Playing alongside Clark were players from Nichols, Springfield, UMass Boston, and Regis College. Overall, Sunday was a big success for the Cougars, with the team winning 2 of the 5 draws, and producing 3 runner ups and a consolation winner.
RECAP: In the A singles flight, Nicholas Mathieu (Topsham, ME) power was on full display for Clark. In the semifinals, Mathieu dispatched UMass Boston's Nandish Shah 6-4, 6-0. After a close first set, Mathieu simply overpowered Shah the second set. In the finals, Mathieu defeated Nichols' player Guilherme Barbosa 6-3, 6-3, dominating with his powerful serves, consistent ground strokes, and his ability to wear down his opponent. Mathieu set the tone with his winning performance for the Cougars in A flight singles.
In B flight singles, Clark's Max Schweitzer (West Hartford, CT) was the runner up. Schweitzer outsmarted Regis' player Sebastian Torres in the semifinals by playing consistent, and baiting Torres into making errors. Schweitzer won this match 6-3, 6-1. In the finals, Schweitzer fought tooth and nail in a marathon match with Nichols' Brandon Howard. Schweitzer and Howard exchanged many long rallies in the first set, and Schweitzer persevered after losing the first set to dominate the second set, and force a third set tiebreak, before finally being defeated. Schweitzer lost the final 4-6, 6-0, 7-10.
Alex Hattenbach (Wilton, CT) represented Clark for the C singles flight. Hattenbach had many long rallies in the first set, and battled out of a 4-5 hole to force a 6-6 tiebreaker. Despite losing a semifinals marathon match to Nichols' Jack Donaldson 6-7, 3-6, Hattenbach got redemption in the consolation bracket. Here Hattenbach was able to use his strong placement and good drop shots to defeat UMass Boston's Kevin Kubinec 8-5, to win the consolation bracket.
Clark had two teams in the A doubles flight. First year duo Matt Lee and Sam Pomann lost a very close opening match to eventual winners Kerem Subasi and Peter Coletti of Nichols. After being down 4-7, the Clark duo won a pair of comeback games, before finally falling 6-8. In the consolation the boys nearly defeated UMass Boston's Onkgopotse Mokoka and Alex Comerchero. Once again the team was down 4-7, but this time they fought back to 7-7. Clark eventually lost 6-8 in the tiebreak. Look for these first year's to have a big impact as the season goes on.
Clark's Christian Ruebens (Chesire, CT) and Dariy Vykhodtsev were the runner ups in the A singles bracket. In their first round match, the duo dominated the pace against Springfield's Freddie Moffa and Jack Anastopulos 8-1 with their strong net play and good serves. In the semis, the team once again won 8-1 against Nichols' team of Sam Kluger and Max Karger. In the finals, the team ran into the Nichols' team of Coletti and Subasi that beat Pomann and Lee. Despite having many leads, and ultimately fighting until the end, Nichols came out on top 6-8. Look for Ruebens and Vyhodtsev to have strong season's at #1 doubles if Sunday is any indication of the upcoming season.
Clark had a big day in B flight doubles. Junior Holden Moore and sophomore Nathan Kapiloff used their quick reflexes, strategic lobs, and deft dropshots to win the B doubles flight. In their first round, the team overcame UMass Boston's Rezka Yupsi and Sal Albano 8-6. Then the pair defeated Springfield's James Foley and Lucas Vandeventer 8-5 in the semis. Kapiloff's difficult lobs, and Moore's strong volley's propelled the team. While this was going on, another Clark duo, Duncan Drapeau (Boothbay, ME) and Josh Podolsky (Sudbury, MA) were going on a finals run of their own. Drapeau and Podolsky won their first match against Regis' pair of Lenny Tam and Josh Nolen 8-2, before defeating Nichols' Chase Pierce and Lane Parks 8-2 in the semis. Drapeau and Podolsky did not lose a single service game in these matches. In the finals, the Clark vs. Clark matchup was decided when Kapiloff and Moore defeated their teammates 8-4, to win the B flight doubles. Finally, Clark's David Reyes Vindel was paired up with Nichols' Brandon Stierli. After losing their first match, the team won a consolation match 8-2 over Regis' duo of Shane Phillip and Jayson Vega.
Coach Mickey Cahoon said of the boys' performance: "The Nichols tournament is a great opportunity to play most of our roster and I thought all 12 guys who participated took full advantage of that. We got better and everyone played really well."
UP NEXT: Cahoon and his team go to Johnson and Wales next Saturday the 22nd, looking to capitalize on the tournament's momentum. That match begins at 1pm.