Victor Taylor ’24 (He/Him), Sports Writer
Davidson men’s tennis is in the process of completing another successful season, one that will conclude in a likely top-4 finish in the Atlantic 10 for a 3rd consecutive year. With the team sporting a 6-11 record after playing a difficult schedule all spring, and a singular match to go in the regular season against conference foe George Mason, the team will face a quick turnaround to prepare for the A-10 Tennis Championships in Orlando starting Thursday, April 28th.
The team started out their season in almost the most difficult fashion possible, taking on a top 10 team in Wake Forest on the road. The final score was a 7-0 defeat, but a new look squad put up a good fight against multiple nationally ranked players and a team who finished second in the perennially powerful ACC. Even with the tough loss, multiple big non-conference wins followed, such as a 4-3 victory over DePaul, with Juancho Perez Gongora ‘25 clinching the win in a dominant second set tiebreak. Perez Gongora said of his clutch performance against the Blue Demons, “It was an incredible moment as a freshman and I was very lucky to be able to give the team the win. It was an extremely rewarding experience in my first season with this team.” The team followed up that match with a commanding 6-1 win over The Citadel the next weekend, dominating wire to wire.
With most A-10 teams only playing a handful of conference matches each year, Davidson knew it had to make the most of its two home matches against strong teams in Dayton and Richmond. VCU is normally the cream of the crop in the A-10, but these three teams compete hard every year for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th spots in the conference standings. The April 8th match against Dayton was a heartbreaker for the ‘Cats, as they were narrowly edged out by the Flyers 4-3. The doubles point came down to Court 3, where a 3-0 lead held by the freshman duo of Perez Gongora and Nico Pinzon ‘25 was flipped into a 6-4 loss. Davidson went down 3-1 in singles with some quick straight set losses, however Perez Gongora and Max Kachkarov ‘24 fought hard and won at Courts 4 and 3 to tie the match at 3. It came down to Court 5 and Sam Kavarana ‘22, where a single break midway through the third set was the difference in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 decision.
While the Dayton loss was a tough pill to swallow, Davidson still had to complete the weekend against Richmond two days later, which head coach Drew Barrett described as a “likely fight for third place in the conference.” The ‘Cats answered the call from an evenly-matched opponent, starting doubles strong. All three teams were in top form, and in the end, Alejandro Solares ‘24 and Uddayvir Singh ‘25 took Court 1 6-1, and Kachkarov and Will Clark ‘23 won at Court 2 6-2. With the doubles point in hand, Kachkarov won his match 6-2, 6-3 before the two seniors, Brooks Green ‘22 and Kavarana brought the huge 4-1 win home from Courts 5 and 6. Pinzon, who was teamed up with Perez Gongora and dominating doubles on Court 3, said that “the Richmond match was circled on the calendar for the entire season” and “we kept the energy up all match and really took it to them in doubles and singles.”
With the biggest part of the team’s season coming up, Singh described the excitement around the next two weeks. “We’re extremely pumped for another conference match against George Mason. We’ve been training hard and the conference matches are the ones that matter the most. It should be another tough one this weekend and we’re hoping to come out on top” he said about the team’s trip to Fairfax this weekend. “I think we have a good chance to make it to the finals this year after our matches against Dayton and Richmond,” Singh predicted. If this comes true, the ‘Cats will have one of their most successful seasons in years.