After winning six of seven matches to start the season in January, the men’s tennis team will end the regular season on a four-game losing streak with the Atlantic 10 tournament on the horizon.
April has not been kind to the men’s tennis team. The group has claimed only one victory, against the Fordham University Rams, 4-0, on April 2. Fordham entered the game with a 3-9 record. VCU’s overall record was 14-8.
What followed were losses to Middle Tennessee State University (4-1), University of Memphis (4-3), No. 12 Virginia Tech (7-0) and St. John’s University (4-3). Though games against Memphis and St. John’s came down to the wire, VCU has been outscored 19-7 during their four-game losing streak.
After being dominated by a top-15 team in VT, the Rams showed life in their last home meet of the season against the St. John’s University Thunderbirds. VCU held a 3-1 advantage after gaining points in doubles competition. Michael Voscek and Antonio Battle Rodriguez defeated SJU’s Vaidik Munshaw and Erick Reyes in the first doubles match, 8-6. Wilder Pimentel and Catalin Fifea followed, defeating Vasili Caripi and Lucas Hejhal, 8-7.
VCU’s Louis Ishizaka defeated SJU’s Freddy Ruiz Acevedo in the first singles meet of the day, 6-4. Pimental would win his singles match to put VCU up 3-1. Trailing, SJU reeled off three straight singles victories, culminating in a narrow victory for the Thunderbirds. SJU’s Robert Levi, Erick Reyes and Lucas Hejhal all gained singles victory with Reyes clinching the game with a victory over VCU’s Daryl Monfils.
Playing in 18 games at home this season at the Thalhimer Tennis Center, the Rams finished with a 12-6 record. The Rams struggled on the road and neutral playing sites, going 0-2 and 2-4 respectively. Still, the Rams hold an undefeated conference record at 2-0.
The Atlantic 10 championships begin Thursday, April 23. The tournament will be played at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio with the championship match taking place on Sunday, April 26. Seedings have not been released but an undefeated conference and an overall record of 14-12 should at least ensure the Rams a play in match.