In contrast to the women’s team, Boston College men’s tennis has struggled in conference play all season. In fact, the Eagles have yet to pick up a win over any of their conference opponents, which has inflated the wrong side of their subpar overall season record. Despite quality wins over competitive Division I teams such as UConn and Boston University, the Eagles have run into trouble navigating one of the nation’s toughest conferences. With three ACC teams ranking in the top 10 in the NCAA, it’s easy to see why any team may suffer a losing record despite its level of talent. Friday’s match against Clemson followed in suit, as the Eagles dropped the weekend opener, 5-2.
Clemson (9-15, 2-9 Atlantic Coast) leapt ahead early on, gaining momentum as it seized the doubles point with relative ease. The Eagles’ (6-15, 0-12) top seeds went out first, crippling them from the outset, as Yizhou Liu and Teodor Giusca doubled up on Derek Austin and Conor Mullins, 6-3. Things transpired similarly on the middle court, as Chris Grasel and Markus Nordby went down to Pierre-Louis Dodens and Mike Agee, 6-4, securing the first score in the Tigers’ favor. Sean Mullins and Max Mendelsohn put up a fight to save face on the last court, but it wasn’t quite enough, as the two conceded the set, 6-5.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard in singles competition when the No. 4 matchup was cut short. As a result, Max Mendelsohn won by default, knotting the score at 1-1. It was a relatively even matchup on the middle court, as Chris Grasel and Yizhou Liu traded points through the first set. Despite Grasel’s stealthy net play and impressive return game, the frame aligned in Liu’s favor, and he took the set, 6-4. The second set played out identically, as Grasel fought for a third through an aggressive effort at the switch, but it proved to be too little, too late. Liu edged him out by two once again, hoisting the Tigers’ to a one-point overall advantage in the match.
On the first court, Derek Austin took Simon Baudry to three sets, as he chased balls and boasted an impressive service game to cinch the second frame by a 7-6 margin after a narrow 6-4 loss in the first. With the Tigers up by one, Austin fought to tie things up and keep BC’s hand in the game. This dream dissipated, as Markus Nordby dropped the third set to Teodor Giusca, and the Tigers flirted with the four-point winning mark. Norby began by doubling up on Giusca, 6-3, in the first set, but the Clemson freshman outlasted him to tally another point for the Tigers. Austin subsequently conceded a hard-fought third set himself, just as Conor Mullins fell to Clemson’s Mike Agee. The Tigers quickly accumulated enough points to seal the win.
The Eagles will round out the weekend with games against Georgia Tech and Bentley on Sunday to complete their regular season schedule. A non-conference opponent to end the regular season is surely a welcome sight, as BC has gone 6-3 against non-ACC foes and will have the potential to build up some form of momentum, as it gears up for the ACC Tournament and tries to shake off three consecutive first-round exits.
Featured Image by Delaney Vorwick / For The Heights