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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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March 4, 2024
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An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Men’s Tennis Moving in Right Direction

In sports, teams don’t become great overnight. It’s not as easy as watching countless instructional videos and reading how-to manuals. It’s more about watching countless game films, learning from tough losses and, most importantly, patience.

The UMass Boston Beacons tennis coach, Eric Berg, knows this well.

“Our performance at the (Little East tournament) was an important step, as we put ourselves in a position to win the tournament,” Berg says.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way, but sometimes you need to lose a tough one to motivate you and come back hungrier next year.”

The Beacons finished third at the LEC Championships with 12 points behind Salem State College (15 points) and the University of Southern Maine (13 points). Junior Ali Al-Sabbagh and freshman Reinaldo Lopes combined to capture the flight three doubles title and help give the Beacons the championship lead after the first day.

“I was extremely proud of Ali and Reinaldo, as they had not played that well together leading up to the tournament,” Berg says. “Those two have the ability to raise the level of their game during a match, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

Junior Jovan Jordan-Whitter wasn’t going to let his teammates steal the spotlight, though.

Jordan-Whitter had captured the flight one singles title the previous day, but unfortunately for the Beacons, it wasn’t enough.

Berg believes the impact of having such a dynamic player as Jordan-Whitter goes beyond wins and losses.

“Jovan’s impact on the team has been huge,” Berg says. “Jovan is a very confident player and the rest of the team has gained confidence from playing and practicing with someone of his talent.

“When he finishes matches, he is always one of the loudest in cheering on the other guys and keep the team morale up.”

Even though the end result was not what he was hoping for, Berg still found a big positive in the championships.

“There were people that did not take us seriously one year ago, or even a month ago,” Berg explains. “We opened some people’s eyes. There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”

Coach Berg isn’t lying, either. The Beacons stumbled out of the gate, dropping their first five matches. Many people wrote the Beacons off, but that only made them work harder.

“We lost some tough ones,” Berg says. “The key is to learn from the tough losses and come back stronger next time.”

The Beacons did just that.

After the sluggish start, the Beacons turned their season around by winning their next four matches. Suddenly the team had the look of a winner. Something that Coach Berg didn’t see last year.

“The main difference [from last year] is the belief that we can win,” Berg says. “There is much more self-confidence, intensity and desire to win matches than there was last season.”

However, a third-place finish suggests that there is still room for improvement.

“There are many things we need to improve on for next season,” Berg states, “such as playing tournaments and conditioning in the summer. The guys are still learning what it takes to become very good players. We have improved in most areas, and we know we can get better.”

That will and determination is what helped surprise everyone but themselves this year. With more experience and a taste of winning under their belt, that might be all it takes to turn the Beacons into a dominant force next season.

About the Contributor
Sebastian Lena served as the sports editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2009-2010 Lena also served as business manager Fall 2011