Freshman Francisco Dias sends it back to Fordham during Saturday's match. Michael Boosalis | Hatchet Photographer
This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jake Deitcher
The Colonials (11-7, 3-2 A-10) won two of their three matches this weekend, finishing play with a victory over Fordham Saturday.
But no teams were easy victories, senior Richard Blumenfeld said, a marked change from past seasons that indicates the rapidly increasing strength of the Atlantic 10.
“Some of the teams that we should beat are putting up a big fight,” Blumenfeld said. “We are going through a lot. Not only are we overcoming injuries but the teams in the A-10 are stronger this season.”
The easiest match of GW’s weekend came on Friday, when the Colonials defeated Richmond 5-2, dominating at the No. 1 and No. 2 seats in both singles and doubles.
No. 1 doubles duo freshman Francisco Dias and senior Ugur Atalay easily defeated the Spiders 8-3, and No. 2 doubles tandem sophomore Ulrik Thompsen and junior Alexander van Gils picked up an 8-2 victory. Dias won in straight sets 6-3. 6-4 at the No. 1 singles position while No. 2 Atalay emerged victorious after dropping the first set 3-6 by winning the next two sets 6-4, 7-5.
Saturday started out as a frustrating day for the Colonials. A loud and confident Charlotte squad surprised GW, winning a tight contest, 4-3. The loss ended a seven-match winning streak for the Colonials. Still, GW was eager to ensure they would not add a losing streak to their season record and remained strong to defeat Fordham a few hours later with a 5-2 victory.
“This is all about conference. It’s all about getting that top four seed in the A-10 tournament. We have to want it to get it,” Dias said. “Losing to Charlotte lead us to beat up Fordham as hard as we could.”
Both Charlotte and Fordham were loud and vocal during their matches, and every lost point by the Colonials was met by a yell or cheer from their opponents. The aggression coming from opposing Atlantic 10 teams isn’t surprising, head coach Greg Munoz said. The Colonials have dominated conference play for the past five seasons, and rivals relish the chance to beat a GW squad that rarely loses to their A-10 competition.
“I think that there has been a target on our back for the last five years,” Munoz said. “People just always want to beat us because we do well.”
Although they ultimately pulled out a victory over Fordham, the Colonials looked tired as they took on the Rams. The earlier match against Charlotte lasted three and a half hours, leaving little time for GW to recover.
Despite strong performances from Blumenfeld, who swept his Saturday singles matches at the No. 6 position, and Dias, who went 4-0 on Saturday at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles, Saturday’s doubleheader proved to be exhausting for the team.
“We try to play a tough schedule so that these guys are ready for the worst but the problem we are facing is that we are beat up. I thought that we were healthy, I thought that we were getting there,” Munoz said. “With a small team and with the improved depth of our conference, it’s something we will never do again. It’s too tough. We will never have another back-to-back as long as I am coaching.”