THE LEAD: Clark Men's tennis had a great day on Sunday, as they got their first win of the season over Johnson and Wales 7-2. After winning two of the three doubles matches, Clark made the most of the warm weather and treated the fans who came out to a surplus of well-played matches. Clark coach Mickey Cahoon and his team are hoping this is the first of many wins ahead for the season.
RECAP: The first doubles match to leave the court was #2 doubles. Here, junior Nicholas Mathieu (Topsham, ME) and sophomore Max Schweitzer (West Hartford, CT) showed JWU's Gianni Rodrigues and Luke Nickerson a barrage of powerful overheads, forehand winners, and of course, Mathieu's powerful serve and Schweitzer's hustle plays. The Clark team won 8-3.
Next, Clark ran the lead up to 2-0 when junior Christian Ruebens (Chesire, CT) and first year breakout start Dariy Vykhodtsev beat JWU'S Franz Fonck and Alexander Rohanna 8-3. Ruebens and Vykhodtsev were strong and consistent throughout the match and ultimately ran away with the win.
At #3 doubles, JWU got a point back when their duo of Steven Heizler and Will Lyons defeated Clark's senior Jack Han (Bakersfield, CA) and junior Duncan Drapeau (Boothbay, ME). Despite the setback, Han and Drapeau showed their perseverance when they were down 2-7, and proceeded to win three straight games, and even forced multiple deuces at 5-7 before finally losing 5-8.
In singles, the first match off was #3 singles, where Vykhodtsev made quick work of JWU's Heizler, 6-1, 6-0. Vykhodtsev has a very promising career in front of him if he continues to play like he has. When asked what won him the match, Vykhodtsev said, "I played really well today, just focused on my own game and tried to be aggressive but consistent. Even though it was hot and everyone was feeling tired, we pushed through and played great!"
Next, JWU brought the match back to 3-2 when JWU's Rodrigues beat Clark's Josh Podolsky (Sudbury, MA) at #6 singles. Podolsky fought hard and used strategic lobs and backhands to put up a fight, but ultimately, it was Rodrigues who came out victorious. Podolsky lost 4-6, 2-6.
The #2 singles match was also a big win for Clark, as Schweitzer pulled off a strong victory over JWU's Fonck. Schweitzer, who is training for a marathon in October, used Sunday as a tune-up, outrunning and outpacing his opponent, and treating Fonck to a litany of well-placed balls and deep serves. That match ended 6-3, 6-3.
Clark officially clinched the match when Ruebens won at #1 singles over JWU's Nickerson in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 10-6. Ruebens may have lost the second set, but he never lost his focus, as his solid and powerful shots propelled him past his opponent. Look for Ruebens to have a big season, as he hopes to build on his 3 impressive conference wins last year.
At #4 singles, senior captain Alex Hattenbach (Wilton, CT) battled off a tough first set, to win multiple tiebreakers and ultimately the match against JWU's Rohanna. Hattenbach didn't let the first set get him down, and used strong drop shots, and several powerful passing forehands to overwhelm his opponent, leading to his big day.
Finally, at #5 singles, Clark's Nathan Kapiloff won a marathon of a match, 6-4, 7-5 over JWU's Lyons. Kapiloff played a spitting image of himself in Lyons, and from start to finish was engage in long, grueling points, often lasting twenty shots or more. But ultimately, Kapiloff's hustle, strong net presence, and pure consistency lead to his win in two and a half hours.
UP NEXT: Clark will look to build on their big win when they host their first match Wednesday against Roger Williams, a solid opponent. The match will begin at 4:00 PM at Corash Tennis Courts.