Strader helps lead tennis team to hot start

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After breezing through the tournament playoffs and securing the coveted GNAC title last season, it’s safe to say the Suffolk men’s tennis team has a bit of a target on their back this year. Despite this the Rams have continued to roll right through the opposition. One of the main players leading the early charge is sophomore Harlan Strader.

Strader has posted a flawless singles match record, having yet to lose a match since becoming a member of Coach Steve Counihan’s team last season.

“I think the biggest reason for [the perfect singles record] is mentality,” Strader explained. “It’s one thing to be skilled at tennis but it’s another thing to have the mentality and willingness to win.”

The sophomore from Marblehead, Massachusetts, has proven over the course of this season and a half with Suffolk that he has the right combination of mentality and skill whenever he takes the court for the Rams.

Two of Strader’s singles wins this season came in key conference games for his team, having won his match against Emerson’s James Landino, 6-0, 6-0, and emerging victorious against his opponent from Albertus Magnus this past Saturday.

Said Strader: “We always love to get that win over Emerson, and really it’s just another confidence builder to getting where we want to be: which is a bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.”

This may seem like an ambitious goal for the Rams, but considering all they have accomplished the past few years there is little else standing in the way of them continuing this successful run. Strader hasn’t seen a player from an opposing team, in or out of the conference, that could take him down. That mentality cerainly comes from being a defending champion, and as a result the team continues to steamroll their competition.

“I think we have handled all the pressure well because we know how to get the job done,” continued the second-year player. “On the Suffolk men’s tennis team we know how to win, and we work together as a cohesive unit to amp ourselves up to win.”

The team looks determined and very much able to repeat their success from last season and quite possibly improve upon it with a bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. With a current record of 6-0, consistency from players such as Strader and the fact that Emerson is holding second place in the conference with a 2-7 record only makes Suffolk’s NCAA dreams even more obtainable. As the king of Suffolk’s No. 3 position put it, “Suffok men’s tennis has been not only impressive but outstanding, and everyone in the Suffolk community should recognize our accomplishments.”

If the team can continue this recent dominate streak and achieve their goal of gaining entrance into the NCAA tournament, it seems very possible Strader and the rest of the squad will look back on this season with fond memories. Ultimately, the team will hope to further their undefeated streak this week against non-conference opponent Bridgewater State College. From there, anything seems possible for this  very talented team.

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