By Chris McCree
The men’s tennis team dropped its third straight contest on Sunday night, losing to Penn State in University Park, Pa. Taking on a very talented Nittany Lion team, the Bison lost all three doubles matches and managed to win only one out of six singles matches. However lopsided the match may have been, the program took an important step forward as it saw Gregg Cohenca ’12 claim the team’s first singles victory against Penn State since 1986.
Coming off of a tough 7-6, 7-6 loss against Duquesne University last weekend, Cohenca won a grueling three-set thriller against Penn State’s No. 1 singles player Bryan Welnetz. Unfazed by losing the first set 5-7, Cohenca bounced back and won six straight games in the second set to even the match. His second-set momentum carried over into the third and he was able to knock off Welnetz 10-6 for the Bison’s one and only victory of the day. With the victory, Cohenca was named the Susquehanna Valley Limo Bison Athlete of the Week.
“It is important for us to take the positives out of a match, and seeing Cohenca compete at such a high level is very powerful,” Mark Malloy ’11 said.
Penn State was able to claim the remaining matches in decisive fashion. Other than Cohenca, the Bison were not able to win a set off of the Nittany Lions. The only other close match was the No. 3 doubles match, in which Josh Katten ’13 and Kelly Morque ’13 fell to Penn State’s Harry Seaborn and Bryan Welnetz by a score of 8-5.
Cohenca attributed the team’s struggle to pure intimidation.
“Going into this match we knew we were facing a strong and talented team,” he said. “I think we all started off the match a little nervous and that translated into us playing passively.”
Despite the score, the team doesn’t seem too discouraged by the loss.
“As a whole, I feel that the team competed at a high level. With Penn State being the best team we face all year, it is important for us to take away the positives from the match. We were aggressive at the net in doubles and applied pressure on our opponents in singles,” Malloy said.
The Bison will try for their first win of the season tomorrow as they play host to Georgetown at the West Branch Tennis Club in Williamsport, Pa. At this point in the season, the Orange and Blue seek to use Cohenca’s big win as a rallying point.
“He sparked a flame in our team,” Malloy said. “We can use his match as inspiration for our future ones. Each player on our team needs to bring more to practice and, as a result, will be better prepared for better teams in the future. I think that with more energy throughout our whole team, we will play at a much higher level come Saturday.”