The Mercer University men’s tennis team hosted their conference opener this past weekend, March 14 and 15, against Northern Kentucky University and Lipscomb University. The team has been looking forward to the beginning of conference play all season.
“We had our ups and downs in matches,” said sophomore Arsav Mohanty. “However, we are ready to face teams in our conference and earn some wins.”
The Bears schedule this season has included many top tier programs, specifically, Auburn and Florida State. After facing such intense opponents, the team was no doubt prepared for the competition that the conference would bring.
“We will expect great results from everyone on the team as we enter into conference play,” said Mohanty.
The Bears are 1-1 in conference after this weekend. On Friday, they dropped a close match to Lipscomb 3-4. The Bears came out strong in the beginning and won both of the doubles points.
In addition, the Bears won the number one and number six singles seed. Sophomore Oliver Snaider and senior Joao Pagan captured these wins for the Bears. However, Mercer’s tough play was not enough to combat Lipscomb’s wins in two, three, four and five singles slots.
The Bears returned with a vengeance on Saturday when they took on the Northern Kentucky Norse. The Bears defeated the Norse 5-2.
Once again, the team started off strong, winning the number two and three seed doubles and capturing the doubles point. Pairs Arsav, Arnav Mohanty, Joao Pagan and Anderson Scarpa led the Bears to an early 1-0 lead.
This time out, the Bears did not drop the singles points. Scarpa and Mohanty won the number two and six singles seeds respectively. In addition, sophomore Austin Emmit contributed a win in the number five singles seed.
The team is continuing to see improvements in play with each match. “Most of us have been struggling,” said Mohanty, “But we are continuing to play better. We are looking forward to the rest of the season and know that we will be playing out best in the conference matches that matter most.”
The Bears know that competition will be tough in conference. They are taking each match as it comes, continuing to work hard in practice and mentally prepare for each opponent.
“Our next conference matches are Florida Gulf Coast University and Stetson University,” said senior Joao Pagan, “We have been preparing mentally and physically for these matches. While we are not overlooking our games next weekend, we have our sights set on winning many conference matches.”
The Bears will take a break from conference play for the next week when they face Georgia Southern University and Bradley.