The Elon University men’s tennis team could not be stopped this weekend, winning back-to-back matches against the Hampton University Pirates 7-0 Saturday and the Wofford College Terriers 6-1 Sunday. Sunday’s win over the Terriers extended the Phoenix’s 6-0 undefeated streak at home.
Junior Ben Zipay had an undefeated weekend in both his doubles and singles matches and said winning at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center is crucial.
“We know coming into home matches that we are going to bring an atmosphere here,” Zipay said.
Like clockwork, junior Daniel Martin and senior Nicholas Campbell gave the Phoenix its first doubles win 6-1 for the second time this weekend. Two-time Colonial Athletic Association doubles team of the week, earned Feb. 8 and 21, Zipay and senior Nicholas Condos followed with a 6-3 victory clinching the doubles point for the Phoenix. Freshmen Oskar Antiheimo and Veljko Krstic were down 5-4 when Zipay and Condos clinched the match, leaving their match unfinished.
Zipay said he and Condos have immense chemistry on the court.
“We don’t have to think, we just act,” Zipay said. “When we’re on the court there’s not an area we can’t cover, and that gives us a lot of confidence to attack and be aggressive.”
Head coach Michael Leonard said he used this weekend to try out some new and old pairings and he is hoping today’s three pairs will be the group for the rest of the season.
“This probably is our best combination,” Leonard said. “These teams have natural chemistry, I’m hoping we won’t have to split it up again.”
Zipay and Condos are a new pair this season and are already up 6-1, pointing to why Leonard wants to keep them together. Zipay said the key to his and Condos’ success is their movement chemistry, something he said not many teams can handle.
“You don’t really practice it, I just kind of know what he’s gonna do and it’s the same for him,” Zipay said. “It's something that I haven’t felt with many partners throughout playing tennis at all.”
After clinching yesterday's match for the Phoenix, Zipay kept the momentum going. He won the first singles match for the Phoenix today, 6-3, 6-2. Following Zipay was Krstic, winning 6-2, 6-1, and Antiheimo clinching the match with a 6-0, 6-3, win. Leonard said he was happy with his decision to rest Antiheimo on Saturday because of a slight illness. He says these illnesses are affecting the younger guys on the team and have been going around since the team took a tough loss against Gardner Webb.
“All the guys that live in apartments are healthy and all the guys living in dorms have had a little bug,” Leonard said.
Despite this weekend's sweep for the Phoenix, Leonard is persistent on getting everyone healthier and continuing momentum going into the team’s first conference match of the season.
“We’ve still got a level to get to before the conference tournament.” Leonard said. “We’ve got to take it up another notch.”
With over a week until the Phoenix’s next match, the team is looking forward to some rest and recovery before it's back in action at the College of Charleston Cougars March 13.