Men’s tennis defeats Kenyon for the first time since 1999

Laura Haley

Chief Copy Editor

 

On Saturday, April 17, the Fighting Scots’ men’s tennis team came out victorious on home turf against Kenyon College. In a 5-4 thriller, the Scots secured their first win over the Lords since 1999 while simultaneously ending Kenyon’s 28-match winning streak.

In doubles play, the Scots emerged triumphant thanks to the No. 2 team of Nebyou Minassie ’22 and Alex Drewes ’23 pulling out an 8-3 win. The No. 3 team of Austin Hanna ’22 and Vakul Nath ’24 added to the win column 8-5. The College’s No.1 team of Joaquin Abos Amo ’21 and Shivam Dewan ’24 fell 0-8 making the match 2-1 to the Scots.

In singles play Hanna secured a win at the No. 2 singles flight 6-1 and 7-5 while Abos Amo at No. 1, Drewes at No. 3 and Nath at No. 4 all fell to the Lords.

The Scots found themselves tied with the Lords as two singles flights were still in play. The battle for the win came down to Dewan at No. 5 singles and Minassie in the No. 6 position.

Playing through pain, Dewan pulled out one of two three-set wins of the day rallying 3-6, 7-6 (12-10) and 6-3, moving the match score to 4-4.

Head Coach Zach Hasenyager stated, “The courts were thick with tension throughout the dual match. Every court was a battle so it felt like momentum would sway wildly back and forth with every swing of the racquet. We were able to have some students out there supporting [the players], and each point would end with cheers and encouragement from all sides. In the final two matches, Shivam beat a talented opponent to put the rest of the weight on Nebyou’s cramping legs. But he scrambled and fought and slid and willed his way to a win!”

Minassie was last left on the court battling through cramps but determined to secure the final match to put the Scots in the win column. In terms of mounting pressure Minassie stated, “I was so focused on the match that I was not thinking about Kenyon’s streak or that I had to clinch the match, and that really helped me to be calm and not be nervous.”

In a three-set thriller Minassie did just that — topping the Lords 7-6 (7-3), 3-6 and 6-4. “It was my biggest win of my college career so far, considering that I clinched the match. My teammates and the crowd’s support were really helpful because I was down 3-1 in the third set and also cramping, so it gave me extra energy to get the job done. A lot of people from Wooster, [including] families and friends, congratulated my team and I for this historic win,” stated Minassie. With Minassie’s clinch, the Scots toppled Kenyon for the first time in over two decades.

Hasenyager detailed the post-match atmosphere, saying, “I took almost an hour after the match to just soak it in. The older guys tried to impress upon the younger ones the enormity of the win. I heard from so many people who were so happy for the team. This was one to remember!”

The Scots will travel to Case Western Reserve on April 25 to battle the Spartans.