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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

University of Saint Joseph smokes a shorthanded men’s tennis squad

A+former+UMass+Boston+tennis+player+braces+for+a+match.+Photo+by+Allie+Crawford+%2F+Beacon+Athletics.

A former UMass Boston tennis player braces for a match. Photo by Allie Crawford / Beacon Athletics.

Men’s tennis began their season with an underwhelming start against University of Saint Joseph. The Beacons traveled to West Hartford, Conn., with the intent to start their new chapter off with a high note, much like the Little Eastern Conference preseason polls predicted.

While the team lost five of their six starters, as well as their legendary head coach, UMass Boston alum Harshana Godamanna, they were not written off the books just yet. The Beacons still topped the poll with 32 points, three first place votes and first place overall (1). After practicing in the fall and winter, they headed into their match against the University of Saint Joseph Blue Jays with high hopes and an eagerness to set themselves up for a fresh start.

However, for the Beacons, fate fell short this time, as smiles faded and their shorthanded team of four players were raided by the Blue Jays, 7–2. Three of the Jays’ victories came via forfeit after the Beacons were unable to participate in two singles matches and a doubles match. In turn, the early deficit created a massive disadvantage for the Beacons and an undoubtedly huge swing of momentum for the Blue Jays (2).

Falling behind early on, the Beacons got into the win column with their first doubles win, which cut the lead to 3–1. Patrick Ramos, who transferred to UMass Boston from Purdue Northwest College (1), helped get the team on the board with his first win in the Beacons’ blue, black and white when he teamed up alongside Maxwell Gill. The duo defeated the Blue Jays’ Noah Rivera and Ryan Boucher, 8–6 (2).

Melvin Nina and Felix Nguyen followed suit for the Beacons. They faced off against Patrick Gavrylchuk and Mario Karpyuk in the second doubles match but were embarrassingly bested by the Blue Jays’ dynamic duo, 8–1 (2). The loss caused the Beacons to trail by three once again, and with four matches remaining, they had to run the table in order to come back home with a win. Their first singles match of the day gave a glimmer of hope for UMass Boston.

Adding onto the team’s momentum, Ramos went on to pick up his second win as a member of the Beacons in dramatic fashion. Losing the first set 7–5, Ramos clawed back and beat Rivera 6–4 in the second set before he took home the rubber match 19–17 in an insane tiebreaker set, adding a point to the Beacons’ team total in the process. Now down 4–2 against the Blue Jays, Ramos’ win was a perfect opportunity to become a precursor of spark for the Beacons’ struggling offense, but unfortunately, the team was unable to emulate the newcomer’s performance.

Dill would drop the second singles match to Karpyuk, with both sets ending in a 6–1 loss. Contrary to following in Ramos’ footsteps, Nguyen ended up emulating Dill instead. Nguyen coincidentally lost to Blue Jays player Jonathan Huot in the fourth singles match by the same score of 6–1, thus giving the Blue Jays a 6–2 edge and a victory on the day.

While the second and fourth singles matches ended in frustrating losses for the Beacons, the third singles match between Nina and Gavrylchuk—although resulting in a loss for Nina—still provided an exciting finish. Nina lost the first set by a score of 6–1 but was able to beat Gavrylchuk 7–5 in the second set to force a tiebreaker. Unfortunately, he dropped the deciding set to the Blue Jay, 10–4, ultimately adding a point to the Jays’ 7–2 victory.

While the match in West Hartford had a disappointing outcome, there is no need to panic for men’s tennis as they move along in the season. There may be fear with how shorthanded the Beacons are at the moment, but Ramos’ emergence is a definite bright spot. While the team is going through some growing pains now, better performances will come in the near future.

With a new chapter for men’s tennis now opened, it’s time to turn the page on their loss to the Blue Jays, as well as their beloved head coach and former All-LEC starters from last season. With some new faces now on the team and Interim Head Coach Jovan Jordan-Whitter filling into the shoes of Godamanna—who he coached alongside last year as the team’s assistant coach (3)—the Beacons are headed on the right path. It’s only a matter of time before the Beacons are fully rejuvenated amid this great reset because, as it stands, they’re more than capable of defending their 2022 LEC Championship (1).

  1. https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/2/14/Little_East_Conference_Releases_Spring_2023_Preseason_Polls.aspx

  2. https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/3/21/mens-tennis-falls-in-first-match-of-spring-season-to-university-of-saint-joseph.aspx

  3. https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/mens-tennis/roster/2021-22

About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor