HAMDEN, Conn.— The No. 6 Wesleyan men's tennis team began its fall season at the Quinnipiac Invitational, competing against the hosts as well as Fairfield, Fordham, Marist, and the University of Connecticut. Despite being the only Division III school at the tournament, the Cardinals proved they can compete at a high level, as Princeton Carter and Noah Lilienthal finished as doubles champions in the A flight, while Carter also made the A flight finals in singles.
"I was impressed by a lot of the things we did this weekend," said head coach Mike Fried. "The level of tennis was very high for our first tournament of the year, and I thought we competed well across the board. It was particularly nice to see Carter, our only senior, put together such a strong performance in both singles and doubles. This was a solid start, and I think it gives us some great momentum going into ITAs next weekend."
DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS:
- The day began with doubles action, where two of Wesleyan's three teams received first round byes. In the A flight quarterfinals, Carter and Lilienthal came out with unmatched energy and fire in a 6-3 win over Fairfield, while in the B flight quarterfinals, Zach Fleischman and Peter Anker took down another Fairfield duo 6-3.
- Earlier in the day, Zach Lieb and Clay Gaieski fell in the B flight 6-4 to Quinnipiac. Though it was their debut as a team, it was not the first time that a Lieb/Gaieski doubles team has represented Wesleyan, as their fathers Richard Lieb and Dave Gaieski were doubles partners during their time on the team in the 1980's.
- In the A flight singles draw, the Cardinals went a perfect 3-0, with all three wins coming in super-tiebreakers. Carter triumphed over UCONN, Anker topped Marist, and Lieb overcame Quinnipiac to advance to the second day of competition.
- Wesleyan also had success in the B singles, where two freshmen made their singles debuts. Gaieski dropped his match 6-3, 6-2 to Marist, before Brian Lee recorded his first college victory with a tremendous win over Quinnipiac, coming back from a set and a break down to win 5-7, 7-5, 10-4.
DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS:
- Cardinal duo Carter and Lilienthal advanced to the A flight finals, with a 6-1 triumph over Quinnipiac. In the B flight, Anker and Fleischman lost their serve in the opening game on a no-ad deuce point, and were unable to recover, falling 6-4 to Fairfield.
- Singles were highlighted by Carter and Lilienthal in the A flight, who each recorded a pair of victories to advance to the semifinals.
- In Carter's first match, he stepped up to win 6-4, 7-6(3) over Fairfield, finishing the match with a second serve ace. In the quarterfinals, it was even more straightforward for the lone-Wesleyan senior, cruising past Marist 6-3, 6-2. Lilienthal was dominant throughout day two, starting with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Fairfield and then defeating Fordham 6-3, 6-1.
- Lieb downed Fordham 6-3, 6-3 in his first match of the day, while Fleischman was relentless from the baseline in a 6-0, 6-2 win over Fordham. In their second matches, both came up just short, as Fleischman fell to Marist 3-6, 7-6, 10-3, while Lieb lost to the defending tournament champion (Marist) 6-4, 4-6, 10-6.
DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS
- In the A flight doubles final, Carter and Lilienthal came out strong with a break in the opening game, posting a 6-4 win over Fairfield. The most critical game was at 4-3 with Carter serving, when the Cardinal duo dug out of a 0-30 hole to hold serve, before winning the game after a long exchange on a no-ad deuce point.
- Carter continued his strong play into singles, where he played steady, patient tennis blended with aggression at the right times in a 6-4, 6-1 semifinal win over Quinnipiac. In the finals, his run came to an end as he fell 6-2, 6-0 to Lars Schouten of Marist, who won the tournament for the second-straight year.
- Lilienthal got out to a great start in his semifinal match against Marist, but ultimately fell 6-4, 6-0 to the eventual champion.
- The Cardinals are back in action on Friday, September 27th when they head to Colby College for the ITA New England Regional Championships.