The Mercyhurst College men’s tennis team pulled off a huge upset in pulling in a large tennis tournament last weekend.
This weekend, the United States Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men’s Atlantic Region Championship competition was hosted by Mercyhurst College at the Pennbriar Athletic Club.
Hosting the event was a big triumph for Mercyhurst as the event is normally held at Bloomsburg. Head coach Ray Yost stepped in and convinced the USTA/ITA to let Mercyhurst hold the event.
“The tournament had traditionally been held in Bloomsburg but the problem is that it is outdoors and the weather this time of year isn’t so good,” said Yost. “So I placed the bid for an indoor tournament, the traditional problem of an indoor tournament was the cost, but we came up with some ways to cut the costs a little.”
The tournament turned out to be a big success as the location of the tournament was a huge convenience.
“It was nice for the players because they didn’t have to deal with the bad conditions outside. The location of the hotel was also close enough that all they had to do was walk across the street to get to the tournament,” Yost said.
Injuries and recruiting problems are posing problems for the tennis team.
“We had a few injuries before the tournament and we had a few recruits end up not playing for us so we have had to have a few freshmen set in right away and play,” said Yost.
“These freshman have a very high learning curve because the level of competition in high school tennis in the area is not quite as good as that overseas, but they are really trying hard out there,” Yost said.
This lack of experience in the Lakers’ lower pairs has caused a lack of depth for the men’s tennis team.
“I have one of the best top two pairs of players we have ever had but there is a lot of pressure on them to perform because of lack of experience in our bottom pairs,” Yost said.
The doubles consisting team of junior Keith Whittingham and sophomore Jorn van der Veer made it to the finals match against the tournament’s top-ranked pair from West Virginia Wesleyan College but could not muster a victory.
The Lakers, despite not winning any of the events, did come away with some experience.
“We played a lot of matches this tournament, and for sure there were some matches we can learn from,” said van der Veer.