The University of Massachusetts Beacons men’s tennis team took down conference opponent Western Connecticut State University this past Saturday with an 8–1 win. With the victory, the Beacons not only improve to 7–4 on the year, but also a perfect 4–0 in the Little East Conference.
In singles play, sophomore Alexander Comerchero and senior Ray Platteel dominated their opponents with wins in straight sets. Aside from them, the Beacons controlled their singles matches from start to finish, winning six of its seven matchups. These included wins from junior Onkgopotse Mokoka, and freshmen Roy Platteel and Nandish Shah. Sophomore Miguel Beltran suffered the Beacons’ lone loss in a tough battle at second singles.
We saw a lot of the same from the Beacons in doubles play, as they won all three of their matches. Shah and Beltran won 8–3 at first doubles, while Mokoka and Comerchero won 8–4 at second doubles. At third doubles, the Platteel brothers won with ease thanks to an 8–0 sweep.
Captain Onkgopotse Mokoka has been at the top of his game all year long. After the match, I quickly asked him, “With back-to-back wins, it feels as if you guys are clicking at the perfect time. Should we expect more of this going forward?” Mokaka answered, “Yes. We are finally on the same page as to what our standards are as a team, and everyone is playing their role to help reach our goal.”
A couple of days prior to the Western Connecticut State match, the Beacons travelled to Curry College for a non-conference contest. The Beacons cruised to a 9–0 victory, their fourth road win on the season. Much like he did in Saturday’s match, Ray Platteel blanked his opponent in what was an impressive performance. To put this win into perspective, it was the Beacons’ third shutout of the year (April 6 against Castleton 9–0 and March 30 against the University of Southern Maine 9–0).
The LEC recognized Roy Platteel for his tremendous play last week by giving him the Rookie of the Week award. I had the chance to ask him his thoughts on receiving the award. “Winning Rookie of the Week means a lot to me. Coming onto the team and being able to play at a high position has its challenges, and not every match is easy to win. I’m glad I can do my part by winning matches for the team and at the same time earn titles like this.” The freshman standout will look to build off of this accolade that he certainly earned.
The Beacons has now won six of their last seven matches and are getting hot at the perfect time. The regular season will come to a close in less than two weeks, so hopefully they can drag some of this momentum into the postseason. This week, the Beacons will be busy as they have a total of three matches. Today, they will host Johnson & Wales University (R.I.) at 3 p.m., on Thursday they will travel to Clark University for a match at 3:30 p.m., and will close out the week by hosting UMass Dartmouth at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday. UMass Dartmouth will not only be their last home match of the season, but also a conference match, so the Beacons will surely have some extra incentive as their perfect LEC record will be on the line. Last year, UMass Boston fell to Salem State University in the LEC Championship, so the Beacons will be looking to avenge the loss and reach the NCAA Division III Tournament.