Hens claw Bison, 5-2, improve to 4-6 overall
Sports Assignment Editor
Late in the first set of senior Adam Lawton’s singles match against Bucknell University’s Aidan Lynch, both players were at the net, volleying. Lawton chipped a shot low, and it was returned, only for Lawton to put it just past Lynch’s nose, claiming the point.
Lawton said he just naturally made those motions.
“I didn’t even think about anything,” he said. “I just acted on instinct, on reflex and got lucky there. It could have gone either way.”
Lawton’s singles victory helped the Delaware men’s tennis team pick up the 5-2 victory over the Bison Sunday at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington.
Head coach Laura Travis said she was glad to see all the players give their best efforts.
“Today was a very good match,” Travis said. “Everyone worked very hard, and I’m proud of the guys. Troy and Adam continue to be the senior leaders and so successful, it was nice to see everybody else playing hard and converting.”
Sunday’s play opened with doubles action. Lawton and senior Troy Beneck claimed a 8-3 doubles victory, over Lynch and Chris Tortura.
Beneck said he was pleased with the way the pair played the match.
“I was happy with doubles,” Beneck said. “We played well. We served really well. It was a comfortable victory.”
In addition to Lawton and Beneck’s victory, junior Evan Andrews paired up with sophomore Mike Furr to claim the second doubles win and gain the crucial doubles point for the Hens. Sophomore Tim Puterio and freshman Zack Niklaus fell to Bucknell’s Octavio Canibe and Scott Bernstein.
Lawton continued his form by beating Lynch for the No. 2 singles victory, 6-3, 6-1. Meanwhile on Court 1, Beneck was having a nightmare match against the Bison’s Nick Bybel.
Losing the first set, 6-1, Beneck said Travis told him to go for more balls and take Bybel out of his rhythm. After that, he was able to win the second by a score of 6-1, and then claim the third set, 6-4.
During Beneck’s match, Bybel would scream after every point. Beneck said such noise does not irritate him, and he worked on ignoring it.
“I just block it out,” he said. “I’m used to people screaming, so it doesn’t faze me anymore. I just focus on the match and the next point.”
Such play was common for the Bison Sunday as during the No. 4 singles match, a line call was made in favor of Furr, to which Canibe had a meltdown on court. Canibe continued the poor behavior throughout the match, which was decided in Furr’s favor after a 6-2 victory in the third set tiebreaker.
Travis said Furr’s match was full of issues.
“They had all sorts of problems,” she said. “Line calls, scoring changes, all sorts of disputes, gamesmanship things, and thank goodness the refs were there.”
In addition to Lawton, Beneck and Furr taking the singles victories, Andrews took the fourth singles point, while Niklaus and sophomore Alex Sweet lost their singles matches.
With Sunday’s victory, Delaware now has a 4-6 overall record (0-1 CAA). The Hens will be on the road for spring break, playing at William & Mary March 29, while James Madison and George Mason will host them April 2 and April 5 respectively. Delaware’s last match before the CAA Tournament will be April 12 against Drexel at the Delaware Field House courts.
Overall, Travis said there won’t be too many changes in how the team gets ready for the end of the season.
“Preparation should be the same from start to finish of the season, so it’s more of the same,” she said. “It’s trying to get better at the little areas we need to get better advancements in.”