The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Tennis playing hot

Don’t be deceived, the Grinnell Men’s Tennis team is just as potent as last year’s NCAA Championship qualifying squad and they proved it again with last weekend’s victory over Coe College at home. It was the second time in 15 years that the Pioneers beat Coe. The match began with two convincing Coe points at No. 2 and 3 doubles.

“Coe has a pretty strong tennis program. In fact, they came into the match ranked on spot behind us,” said Head Coach Andy Hamilton. “Probably we would have lost the team match if we didn’t rally at number one doubles.”

The match was settled before a crowd of record numbers, according to Hamilton. In the final singles matches, featuring Martin Dluhos ’12 and Eric Ritter ’12, Coe was sitting just a point behind Grinnell at 3-4.

“I wasn’t going to lose that day,” Ritter said. “I knew from the moment I stepped on the court. I didn’t even realize during that last game when there were a lot of people watching. I couldn’t even see the people, there was just the tennis court and my opponent.”

Ritter secured his point and the match-win for Grinnell. The final score was 5-4.

“I was really pleased with Eric’s steadiness and willingness to grind out points,” Hamilton said. “He played with a lot of confidence and while he’s just a sophomore, his experience showed in this close match.”

Despite Coe’s relative competitiveness, Grinnell was playing with a full roster and coming off the high of sound victories in Appleton, Wis. against Ripon, Lawrence and St. Norbert.  Lawrence and St. Norbert are two of the strongest teams in the MWC North Division.

“We actually made the trip without our top two players, Juan Carlos Perez [’11] and Dmitriy Glumov  [’12], which could have been problematic but our guys didn’t allow it to effect them,” Hamilton said.

Because the team was down two players, Colin Johnson ’13, stepped up and played both doubles and singles—a shift in responsibility he felt during the matches themselves.

“With doubles it can be win, win or lose, lose,” Johnson said. “Whereas singles you’re only relying on yourself.”

“Colin Johnson not only had to play number one doubles against three top teams in the league but also stepped into our singles line-up and prevailed in three different matches,” Hamilton said. “These wins showed his understanding of what his play would mean to the team’s success.”

Due to their recent success in Appleton and against Coe, the Pioneers are feeling very confident heading into the post-season. But before Grinnell can shoot for its sixth straight conference win, and the potential to go a couple rounds at nationals, it must secure two more wins this weekend.

“Our focus will be to prevail over Knox and Monmouth and win our 10th straight south division title,” Hamilton said.

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