Boston College men’s tennis has traditionally struggled against ACC opponents. Over the course of the past three season, the Eagles have only garnered one win in conference play. Needless to say, that trend has continued in 2019 with BC dropping 6-1 and 7-0 matches to No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 12 Virginia, respectively. Another conference foe came to town on Friday, with Louisville visiting the Flynn Recreation Complex. This time around, the Eagles were more competitive but still dropped a 5-2 match to the Cardinals.
Unlike the rest of the contest, the doubles point was won without much of a battle. Derek Austin and Sean Mullins were unable to top Christopher Morin-Kougoucheff and Fabien Salle in first doubles, losing the match, 6-3. Austin and Mullins went 5-6 last season, and while they have performed well against non-conference teams, they have been unable to replicate their success against ACC counterparts. At second doubles, Max Palmer and Chris Grasel put up a bigger fight, narrowly losing in one set to Brandon Lancaster and George Hedley, 7-5.
The doubles matches were hotly contested by BC (4-4, 0-3 Atlantic Coast). It started at the top of the lineup with Austin and Markus Nordby notching victories at first and second singles, respectively. Austin won his match against Louisville’s (7-3, 1-1) Morin-Kougoucheff in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4. On the other hand, Nordby had to fight through adversity to pull out a victory. He was handed a loss in the first set, 6-2, by Lancaster. But he responded well with a 6-3 showing in the second frame before grinding out a win by outlasting Lancaster, 7-5, in the final set.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, they could not record victories down the rest of the singles lineup. Grasel was downed by Salle in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3. Max Mendelsohn won his first set against Federico Gomez, 6-3, but he could not secure the closing victory. Gomez rallied to beat Mendelsohn, 6-3, in the second set before edging him in a third-set tiebreaker. Conor Mullins struggled against Sergio Hernandez Ramirez, falling, 6-2, 6-4.
At sixth singles, Wills Tutecky gave a laudable effort against David Mizrahi. He prevailed in the first set, 6-4, but fell, 7-5, in the second frame before a back-and-forth affair that was the final set ensued. The third frame went to a tiebreaker, and Mizrahi narrowly defeated Tutecky, 10-8.
BC still has several non-conference opponents on the schedule—the Eagles will face Brown and U.C. Irvine on the road. But after that, the competition only gets tougher when BC ventures into the thick of the conference slate. The Eagles have struggled enormously in conference play since joining the ACC. If BC can capitalize against its non-conference opponents and build confidence and chemistry, then there’s a chance that it can make a small step in improving its standing in the current ACC hierarchy, but don’t bet on it.