Rain storms and high winds helped to blow the Oberlin's men's tennis into eighth place in the NCAC. Slightly disgruntled and definitely disappointed, the Yeomen returned to Oberlin from the weekend tournament with three more losses under their belt.
The tournament was loosely organized and the weather was moody. All of these factors played out in the Yeomen's performance. Regarding the tournament conditions, junior Andy Sklarin said, "We were as confused as everybody else. The officiating was poor."
The tournament began Friday at Ohio Wesleyan University. Conditions in the morning permitted outdoor play for the first round. Oberlin took on Kenyon College. Rain canceled the last two singles matches and Kenyon overwhelmed the Yeomen 5-0.
For the second match of the day, Oberlin played OWU, inside. Once again, several matches were left unfinished, this time because of lack of time and space on the indoor courts. OWU swept the game 4-0.
Saturday proved bright and sunny, but severely windy. The Yeomen were outdoors once again, braving the elements and adjusting to the different courts. This final match of the weekend and the season was to determine seventh and eighth places in the NCAC. Wittenberg University won the game, 4-0. The Yeomen managed to take a doubles match with senior Adam Shoemaker and junior Koji Ebersole.
Head coach Chris Barker said, "We let the conditions get to us, we let the wind bother us, and that we had to start and stop matches because of the rain. It affected our mental state. Your mental attitude when playing tennis is very important, you miss an easy shot and it can blow your whole game. The week before, we had been very mentally tough."
After the season-long push to make it to the NCAC tournament, the team was disappointed with their performance. Although weather conditions and court changes set the Yeomen back, both the coach and team members felt that their game was not up to par. Sklarin said, "We played poorly at the tournament, probably the worst we've played all season."
Barker thought that the tournament was not an adequate representation of the teams ability. "We played so well the week before. Even against Kenyon when we lost 6-1, we played well. We played well enough to be in every match (in the tournament). But the week before we did the extra little things to win."
Next year, Barker hopes to rearrange the schedule so that the team will not have such a tough week right before the tournament and won't be so worn out when it counts. Hopes for a better season next year are high. Barker said, "They're good players and great guys. They handled it well and were supportive of each other. It's a young team so they're going to do some great things before they graduate."
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 23; May 3, 1996
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