The men's tennis team lost 4-0 to the Duke Blue Devils at the NCAA Championship round Friday. Senior Christopher Kushma, pictured, along with sophomore Alexander Van Gils lost the first match 8-2. File Photo
The men’s tennis team fell in the first round of its first-ever NCAA Championship to No. 11 seed Duke Friday.
The Blue Devils kept the Colonials from earning a single point, defeating GW 4-0.
Senior Christopher Kushma and sophomore Alexander Van Gils fell first, 8-2, followed by the Colonials’ freshmen duo, Viktor Svensson and Ulrik Thomsen, who lost 8-1. Junior Richard Blumenfeld and senior Erik Hannah were the last team to be defeated by the Blue Devils, falling in a 7-2 decision.
“Our freshmen were a little nervous going into doubles. We lost the doubles quickly and that was a disappointment,” head coach Greg Munoz said. “All of the seniors lost their matches, and that’s a tough way to go out.”
Duke continued its dominance in singles play, ensuring its victory with three singles wins. Hannah was swept, 6-0, 6-0, in the first singles match, followed by Kushma, who fell 6-4, 6-3 to his Duke opponent. Senior Yan Levinski was the third and final singles defeat, falling 6-2, 6-2 to Duke.
“Losing’s always tough to take,” Munoz said, “But they [the seniors] went through four years without really facing levels like that and I think that’s something that as a team we need to find ways to keep our players more competitive.”
The Colonials earned their berth at the NCAA Championship by winning the Atlantic 10 Championship, the program’s second-ever and first since 1979. GW defeated Xavier 4-0 in the A-10 finals, finishing their season with a 15-8 record.
The season also garnered personal honors for six Colonials and their coach. Kushma, Hannah, and Levinski, along with junior Ugur Atalay, were named to the A-10 All-Conference first team, while Val Gils and Svensson were named to the All-Conference second team. Munoz was named the 2011 A-10 Coach of the Year. As his season ended, Munoz was optimistic about what lay ahead for his program.
“The performances of our new players, our two freshmen and our sophomore, were very competitive with Duke,” Munoz said. “We competed at the sports that will be returning. I’m feeling really good about next year.”