The winningest season for a Goshen College men’s tennis team came to an end this past Saturday in Indianapolis as the Leafs fell to Marion in five sets at the Crossroads League championship.
To begin the match, Marian won all three doubles matches, meaning that Goshen would have to win five of the six singles matches to take the title. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The Leafs will have to wait for their first Crossroads League title since 1995. The Knights won the first two singles matches, the 1s and 2s match-ups, and claimed the crown in a 5-0 victory as the remaining matches concluded unfinished.
Head coach Stan King was disappointed with the final result, but was thorough in expressing the pride he held for his players.
“It was a disappointment to lose, of course, but I thought the guys played well in all of Saturday’s championship matches, including those matches still in progress when Marian reached 5 team points,” he said. “I am very proud of my players for their determination, focus and hard work all season, and their great execution of tennis throughout the season, all while maintaining a healthy attitude and good team chemistry.”
Luis Perez, a senior, agreed with his coach. “It was a really tough loss since it was my last college match and I could not finish with a win, but it was a pleasure to play a final and it was something that we achieved because of hard work. I wish we could have won, but we all fought a lot and we gave 200 percent, so we have to feel proud about our work,” he said.
Perez also said that looking back, he will always cherish the team’s effort. “Since day one we knew that our goal was to win the conference, so we put a lot aside in order to focus on tennis,” he said. “We could have really tough games and we could be really tired, but we were back on the tennis courts the next day trying to get better. This effort has helped me to grow as a person and as a tennis player.”
Aritha Weerasinghe, a sophomore, enjoyed the relationships he has gained through the team. “We did everything as a team. It’s really sad to see five of the seniors graduate soon; they were so helpful to me. Our coach, Stan King, is a wonderful man and he has helped me and the team in tremendous ways as well,” he said.
Perez wanted to end by expressing his gratitude. “I cannot forget about the coach. I feel like this is his season. He helped me since the day I came to Goshen. He has done great things for me so it is great to give him back a little bit of what he has done. He and the team will be always a big part of my life and of my personality,” he said.
He also said that energy from the fans made a huge difference. “I appreciate the fans’ support this year. Some of the victories came because of them. It was amazing to share these moments and this great season with them.”