This post was written by Hatchet reporter Aaron Esparza.
Now more than a month into the spring season, this is no longer a men’s tennis team that lost four of its first five matches and subsequently fell out of the national rankings.
No, this is a team that has overcome its lack of depth and is currently riding a four-game win streak that has propelled them back into the national rankings.
After going 3-0 this past weekend, with wins against two top 70 programs – No.70 Charlotte and No. 60 UNC Wilmington – the Colonials now find themselves with the No. 55 ranking in the country, announced by the International Tennis Association Tuesday.
This is GW’s highest team ranking since they earned a No. 49 ranking on March 12, 2013.
Powered by a balanced attack of youth and experience, the Colonials’ gameplan has focused on setting the tone early with the doubles duo of freshman Julius Tverijonas and junior Francisco Dias.
In singles action, the team has clearly made strides in covering up their lack of depth by emphasizing a “next man up” mentality, according to assistant coach Philippe Oudshoorn.
Seen in Saturday’s convincing win against UNC Wilmington, the team uncharacteristically struggled in doubles, but players like sophmore Danil Zelenkov and seniors Nikita Fomin and Ulrik Thomsen were pivotal in the one-point victory.
Thomsen, after clinching all three matches this weekend for his team, was additionally named Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week. He would go undefeated in all three of his No. 5 singles matches, as well as his three No. 3 doubles matches with fellow senior Victor Svensson.
Now with a middling record of 5-4 through the first third of the season, the team still has plenty of room to improve and plenty of ground to make up. Already with losses against four ranked teams, GW may not have convinced everyone that it is ready to make the leap.
But the Colonials have convinced themselves that they are back on the right track to finishing the season with a top 60 ranking and an Atlantic 10 trophy.