The stands were packed to the brim at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center on Tuesday night. A raucous crowd created a great atmosphere, and in turn, the Phoenix rewarded the Elon faithful a strong outing. The Elon University men’s tennis team displayed a dominant performance en route to a 6-1 Senior Day victory over the University of North Carolina Greensboro Spartans.
Prior to the match, the Phoenix honored its three seniors — Nicholas Condos, Nicholas Campbell and Luke Queiroz — with speeches read by the public address announcer and commemorative poster boards presented by head coach Michael Leonard. Each player took a moment to embrace and celebrate with their teammates, coaches and loved ones.
“The moment you start walking, you start shaking, your lips are kind of shaking,” Campbell said. “You're like, where are these nerves coming from?”
Campbell said he was inspired by the larger crowd that filled the home stands during the match.
“It was surprising,” Campbell said. “We had about, I don't know, 100-150 people, usually we see that only for the conference. To see that in the regular season, it means a lot to the guys. It's always fun to play in front of a crowd instead of 5-10 people.”
Campbell reflected fondly on his time with Elon. He said his favorite on-court memory was Elon’s upset victory over Colonial Athletic Association foe William & Mary in last season’s conference tournament. He said some of his favorite off-court memories were the camaraderie brought by team meals at dining halls after long practices.
“Those things you take for granted, but once you're done with college, then everybody is an adult, you don't have those free hours with your friends again, so I’m going to miss that for sure,” Campbell said.
Condos spoke highly of his time on the road. He said he enjoyed bringing along the Wii console to various hotel rooms during their away matches and tournaments. Queiroz chimed in and added that Mario Kart was a team favorite.
Condos said the match was a bittersweet moment. He said keeping his composure was key today, and he thought about those who came before him and laid the foundation for him to be in this position as a senior.
“We've seen all our friends do the same thing,” Condos said. “You kind of don't think it's going to happen to you until it does, and then you're like, wow, we're finally at the end.”
Leonard said it was rewarding for him to see his group succeed today. He said the three seniors have been important pieces to the team over their several years at Elon.
“You want to see the guys that have been here a long time have a successful day,” Leonard said. “It’s kind of cool to see those guys succeed.”
Quieroz’s won his doubles match 6-1 with his partner, junior Daniel Martin. Condos won his match at the No. 3 singles spot, which also clinched the match for the Phoenix.
On top of a solid showing of the seniors, the other Phoenix dominated. Veljko Krstic and Oskar Antinheimo were two of three freshmen in the singles lineup and won their matches. Junior Ben Zipay and Martin also won their matches.
“Time flies,” Campbell said. “I've been here three years now. It still hasn't settled in that I'm going to play my last home match two weeks from now against A&T.”
Campbell was sidelined due to foot soreness and has been unable to play for the last two matches. While he was unable to play today, he was still cheering on and offering wisdom to the youth of the team, as freshman Jake Pettingell made his collegiate debut at the No. 6 singles spot in a 2-6, 2-6 loss – the only match dropped on the day for the Phoenix.
“Honestly, it feels good to be still out there with the guys,” Campbell said. “I was able to talk to some of the guys, especially Jake, having his first college match today because he's going to be needed in the years coming by.”
With the win, Elon moves to 12-8 on the season. The Phoenix will travel north to take on the Radford University Highlanders (9-8) on Friday at 2 p.m.