Guys, while none of us were looking, Men’s Tennis has ripped through the MAC.
Around this time last year, the program was touting its freshman recruiting class, a loaded group of internationals signaling a restart from a run of teams that always seemed to feature two seniors and an underclass threat for MAC Player of the Year.
A 1-3 start against UB’s usual Ivy-heavy nonconference competition dampened my already low expectations, and then it was Basketball time, and then it was cutting-sports time. But now, nearing the end of April, UB hasn’t lost to anyone outside of the Ivy League, has really run roughshod over the MAC, and has a great chance at an undefeated conference season.
The usual power in the MAC is Western Michigan, and the Bulls have already taken them down once, beating the Broncos with depth three weeks ago, winning at 1 and 2 Doubles, and 1, 4, and 6 Singles.
Everyone else in the conference is a tier below UB and WMU, who have already clinched the top two seeds, and it shows in Buffalo’s results — only Northern Illinois has managed to take even a second team point from the Bulls, and to my delight Binghamton has fallen 6-1 not once, but twice.
As you might expect from a winning team, there are some gaudy win-loss records across the board for UB on the season. While the freshman-heavy group doesn’t have great top-end results*, the depth really shows, as Filip Grbik, Villhelm Fridell, Petr Vodak, and Ethan Nittolo dominate in 3-6 Singles and Vodak/Fridell and Tony Miller/Nittolo are a combined 17-6 in Doubles sets.
*certainly made worse-looking by the Ivy-heavy schedule
Only Ball State and Northern Illinois, both 2-3 in the MAC, stand between UB and the conference tournament in Kalamazoo (darnit) next weekend. Whether the Bulls pull off the undefeated run or not, the collision course is set for Western Michigan on Sunday the 29th.