The VCU men’s tennis team hit a slump in March, losing four of its last six contests. However, the Rams rebounded in April with a blowout win against Norfolk State University, which improved their record to 13-9 on the year.
The drought began after VCU’s 7-0 blowout win over Binghamton University on Feb. 28. In the preceding contest on March 2, the Rams suffered a 4-0 loss to No. 17 Duke University at home.
The Blue Devils overwhelmed the Rams with a multitude of elite players. Duke had three singles players ranked in the top-100 nationally, as well as a doubles team ranked 33rd in the nation.
Following the lopsided home loss to Duke, the Rams traveled to Winston-Salem, N.C., to take on Wake Forest University. There, VCU experienced its second consecutive defeat by a score of 4-1, dropping its record to 11-7 on the season.
The Rams trudged back to the homestead to take on two Ivy League schools, Cornell University and Dartmouth University, on March 8 and March 20 respectively. VCU managed to split the contests, losing to Cornell and defeating Dartmouth.
In the March 8 contest against Cornell, sophomore Michal Voscek and freshman Wilder Pimentel garnered a doubles victory, while senior Alexis Heugas and freshman Jean Baptiste Mateo won in singles. However, Cornell pulled away with Chris Vrabel’s 7-3 tiebreaker victory over VCU’s Vuk Velickovic. The final score was 4-3.
The 4-2 victory over Dartmouth in the March 20 contest was a testament to VCU’s resilience. Despite going into the match on a three-game losing streak, the team rose to the occasion. Argente, Mateo and Pimentel each dominated in their single sets. Also the Heugas-Jones and Voscek-Pimentel duos won their matches as well. The victory elevated the team into top-50 national rankings, earning the 37th spot.
On March 28, the Rams endured a tough 4-3 loss to No. 47 University of North Carolina Wilmington. Senior Alejandro Argente, Voscek and Mateo were able to record singles victories. Also, the Heugas-Jones duo was victorious in their doubles match. However, UNCW responded with three singles and two doubles wins.
Finally, on April 3, the Rams trampled the Norfolk State Spartans, 7-0, in the last home match of the season. VCU hopes to carry the momentum from this victory into their remaining games on the road and into the postseason as well.
Despite experiencing a rough patch in the month of March, the Rams are still 13-10 on the season. Also, the majority of the losses have been against worthy opponents; several of those teams were ranked in the top-50 nationally.
As of right now, it appears as though VCU may slot in as a No. 2 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament. If that is the case, the Rams would be in prime position to make another postseason run and potentially face top-seeded GWU in the finals.
VCU fell to the University of Memphis 4-0 this past Saturday before taking on the University of Louisville on Sunday afternoon. The results from Sunday’s contest were not final as of press time.
The Rams will take on the Hokies of Virginia Tech this Wednesday in the final match of the regular season. On Thursday, April 17, VCU will compete in the first round of the A-10 conference tournament.