Despite low numbers, the Goshen College men’s tennis team continues to prevail this fall season, having played in the quarterfinals of the Crossroads League Tournament this past Tuesday, Sept. 22, as the sixth seed, with a 3-5 conference record.
The Maple Leafs fell 6-1 at Marian University, though Javier Gallego Murcia, first year, took home a win at No. 1 singles.
With several injuries on the team, most Maple Leaf members played up a spot higher than usual.
Byeong Min Lim, senior, and Diego Torres, sophomore, joined late in the season so the team could continue to play in the regular season and for this Crossroads League tournament.
The Leafs were still forced to forfeit No. 3 doubles. At No. 2 doubles, Lim and Wesley Beck, sophomore, lost 6-3. Murcia and Dan Boussom, senior, fell at No. 1 doubles 6-4.
On the singles side, Torres lost his No. 5 match 6-0, 6-0. At No. 4, Lim fell 6-0, 6-3. Beck was defeated at No. 3 as well, falling 6-1, 6-1. Despite a close first set loss of 7-5, Boussom lost the second set 6-0 at No. 2.
Evan Atkinson, head coach, had high praise for his team despite the overall loss.
“2020 has been a unique year in many senses,” he said, “We knew this month would be grueling and challenging. Though we were struck by the injury bug, our team is dedicated to completing our season while putting our best (if not only) foot forward.”
Starting the season with six players, the exact number to field a team, the Maple Leafs then lost players to injury, played double headers each conference match and held a 10 p.m. rescheduled match to cap off an already double-header day.
Atkinson is proud of his team for overcoming obstacles during the season, especially due to the abbreviated schedule. One particularly long night was Wednesday, Sept. 16, when the team played at 10 p.m. to finish a match against Mount Vernon Nazarene from the previous Saturday.
“Allowing MVNU to save a 10-hour travel day as a make-up and play under the lights is a great example of us living out our mission statement in caring for others,” Atkinson said.
Murcia and Beck have been the only two players to play in every match this season.
Beck praised his team for their valiant efforts this season, proud of them for “controlling what we can, and getting better regardless of who we were playing,” he said.
Despite having a small team, Beck sees it as an opportunity to get to know his teammates better and create a positive environment moving forward.
The men’s and women’s tennis teams return to action Monday, Sept. 28 at Indiana Tech.