Men’s tennis stays focused in conference

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke

Life is good for the Duquesne men’s tennis team. They currently find themselves unbeaten in the Atlantic 10 and are 12-4 overall after coming through with two big wins last weekend in their matchups against Dayton and Northern Kentucky.

The Dukes took four of six singles points and swept the doubles point against the Flyers on Friday to win by a final score of 5-2. On Saturday, the squad made quick work of the Norse, shutting them out 7-0. Junior Rich Robbie was named the Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week.

Friday marked the beginning of the team’s Senior Weekend, which saw a busload of around 40-50 spectators come out to celebrate the Red & Blue’s Pete Carpenter and Max Rubin. Head coach Rob Gregoire had a great time commemorating the two’s time at Duquesne.

“We honored Pete and Max by showing them that they are great leaders,” Gregoire said. “We had a huge crowd, and the referee actually had to warn the fans because they were so loud which I thought was pretty awesome.”

Sophomore Corey Robinson praised the two seniors for the effort they put forth over the course of their careers at Duquesne.

“They have been such amazing captains, not just this year, but last year as well,” Robinson said. “They were really kind of the foundation for our team.”

The win for Carpenter only made the moment so much more special.

“I’m glad we got the victory. [I’m] definitely going to keep that memory for sure,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter was also named A-10 Men’s Tennis Co-Performer of the Week last Thursday for his perfect performance against Villanova and Saint Joseph’s last week.

Carpenter and Rubin have combined for 181 total wins and led the Dukes to 45 wins during their time on the Bluff.

With this weekend’s wins, the Dukes are now on a four-game winning streak. The team is getting hot at the right time heading into the home stretch of the season. Only one A-10 matchup remains against St. Louis on April 12.

Robinson likes the direction in which the team is heading.

“I feel we have been getting more focused with each match as we get closer and closer to A-10’s. It has been getting more realistic that we could actually have a legitimate shot at taking it this year,” he said.

Gregoire, who is in his first season as the Dukes’ head coach, is impressed with how his team has settled down over the course of the spring.

“In the beginning of the season, you can see fluctuations in the personal records,” Gregoire said. “As the season has gone on, more guys are winning more consistently mainly because they are very focused. We put emphasis less on winning and more on what we need to get better at.”

Carpenter is impressed with how Gregoire has done in his first season.

“I think with our new coach Greg coming in, he really changed the structure of the practices and off-court work,” Carpenter said. “It’s definitely showing when playing out matches.”

Last season, the team defeated St. Bonaventure to secure a spot in the quarterfinal round of the A-10 championship, where they eventually lost to Xavier. With the postseason right around the corner on April 17, expect that loss to be a motivating factor for this group of guys.

Coming up for Duquesne is a series of matchups against some quality teams. This weekend, the Dukes head up north to Cleveland to take on Cleveland State and the Butler on Friday and Saturday, respectively.