Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Men’s tennis three wins from perfection

Assistant coach Stahl has talented group on the verge of GNAC title, NCAA bid

Article by: Mike Giannattasio

The Suffolk University men’s tennis team is currently 6-0 on the year, with three matches left in the regular season.

The Rams have dominated every opponent they have played this season. In their most recent stretch of games, Suffolk beat Rhode Island College 8-1 on Apr. 6, shut out UMass Boston 9-0 on Apr. 8, and then defeated Emerson 8-1 on Apr. 10.

Isaac Stahl is the assistant coach of the team, and he hopes the team can go unbeaten for the rest of the season.

“If we finish undefeated it would be amazing,” said Stahl. “We try to just take one match at a time, but that truly is our goal in the end. We need to be undefeated. We won the conference last year, and the next step is winning a title and going undefeated.”

“It means a chance at the NCAA tournament, which would really put us on the map,” he continued. “The team has something special and I want to see how far they can go, especially on the national stage.”

Stahl added that all of the team’s players have contributed in the Rams’ success so far this season.

“In the UMass Boston win, Harlen Strader, a first year player, won at [first] doubles and [third] singles,” said Stahl. “He has been dominant throughout the season and has been a welcome addition to the team.  John Samander has truly stood out this year, undefeated and losing only four games all season. He is playing the fifth singles and second doubles spots in every match.

“Diego Alvarado has also stood out for his efforts at [the] first singles and double spot,” he added. “He is a great captain and sets a tone for the level of play that we want here at Suffolk.”

Stahl said senior Jared Orkin has been playing phenomenally as well, in both the three-spot in singles and anchoring the third spot in doubles.

“He is a former Rookie of the Year and now he has added ‘creator of coupme.com’ to his resume of successes,” said Stahl. “This guy is a winner and that’s all I can say.”

Stahl also said that freshman Dachuan Zhu and junior Nick Pratt are both having tremendous seasons, as the two beat Rhode Island College by a score of 8-5 at the third doubles spot.

“They are great guys that push our regular starters and are ready to step in whenever needed,” said Stahl of Zhu and Pratt.

Stahl said many of the other players have contributed this year as well.

“Christopher Staley has been a real leader, winning at second-singles and second-doubles,” said Stahl. “He helps keep the team together and focused and commands a lot of respect for playing through injuries and still not losing a step. Justin Ayoub is our other captain, and he has been so valuable to me. He handles a lot of the team communication and comes to every practice and works tirelessly on his game. He has been a key piece of our success since he first arrived at Suffolk two years ago.”

One of the team’s strengths this season has been the team unity and determination by the players. The Rams have fought hard in every match and the scores reflect how hard everyone is playing.

“Our strength is our depth; if one [player] has a bad day, then we have a lot of other guys ready to step up and dominate,” said Stahl. “Everyone has a job to do and they carry themselves like champions. I am extremely happy with our effort.”

Stahl added that he hopes every player can focus on success academically as well as on the tennis court.

“With the weather getting good, it is hard to be spending the day in the library,” he cautioned. “With exams around the corner, they have a tough challenge to be successful on the court and in the classroom; both require a lot of time and energy. I really respect how hard they work every day.”

The Rams have many goals for the rest of the season. They hope to both make it to and go far in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

“I hope that we go deep into the NCAA’s, maybe two or three rounds,” said Stahl. “It is a lot to ask and would be the best a Suffolk tennis team has ever done. The sky’s the limit for these guys, and a national bid would be the next step towards someday winning it all and being the best team in Division III.”

“That is secretly my dream- to take a tiny school and make it the best,” confided Stahl. “Success this season is going to solidify the strength of our tennis program.”

With the team playing well and the season going according to plan so far, Stahl said he has enjoyed many things about coaching the team this year.

“I’ve enjoyed the players and the team chemistry, as these guys are great,” said Stahl. “Winning also feels great and everyone has been in a good mood. I just try to talk up every challenge ahead of us, to keep them motivated, and they do the rest. It is just a pleasure to be with this group…with this team, I feel like I am exactly where I belong. I know that this team will make me proud every time [they] step on the court. It is just an amazing feeling of pride and gratitude.”

The Rams hope to keep up their winning ways and take home victories in their last three matches. They play Bridgewater State on Thursday, and then they travel to Norwich for a match on Saturday. The Rams end their regular season with an away match against Salem State on Apr. 29.

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Men’s tennis three wins from perfection