LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell men’s tennis team, which has played indoors for its first five matches of the spring season due to the freezing temperatures and snowy conditions, will take to the outdoor courts on four different occasions over spring break. The Bison, who hold an 0-5 record, will begin with a match at Old Dominion on Saturday, March 8 at 10 a.m., and will then head down to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for the Spring TennisFest. While there, they will play South Carolina State on Tuesday, March 11 and George Mason on Wednesday, March 12, with both matches starting at 8 a.m. The men will return to Lewisburg to conclude their spring break, welcoming St. Joseph’s to the Bucknell Tennis Courts on Sunday, March 16 for a 12 p.m. contest.
“We are looking forward to getting outdoors and playing some tennis against four quality opponents,” said interim head men’s tennis coach Craig Schwartz. “This week will set the tone for the rest of the season. We handle the elements very well and our fitness level is high, so I believe that makes us a better outdoor team. However, it is critical that the guys stay focused on each point and work the patterns that we have been developing. I will be able to evaluate each and every player this week, enabling me to tighten up our lineup for the remainder of the season.”
Bucknell traveled to Baltimore, Md. for its last match, dropping a 5-2 decision to UMBC last Friday night. Sophomore Nick Bybel highlighted the outing with two strong wins, while junior Jonathan DeFrancesch came from behind to win at No. 6 singles. Bybel, who currently ranks 34th in program history with a 64-34 overall record, combined with senior Aidan Lynch to take an 8-2 victory at No. 1 doubles, and while the duo improved its season mark to 9-5 with the win, the Retrievers took the other two matches to grab the doubles point. Bybel completed his 2-0 day with a straight set win at No. 1 singles, while DeFrancesch was victorious at the sixth spot, rallying back from a defeat in the first set to win the second in a tie break and earn a 10-5 win in the final set.
Bybel currently leads the Bison with a 15-7 singles record, including a 3-2 mark in match play, and is just one win away from moving onto the program’s all-time list for both single season victories and career victories. Senior Kyle Rosen, who ranks 17th in Bucknell history with a 46-49 singles record, has two wins at the No. 6 spot, while DeFrancesch and freshman Bryan Adams have each earned singles wins in the spring season. Bybel and Lynch, who ranks 22nd at Bucknell with a 36-24 doubles record, lead the charge in doubles play, having earned two wins at the No. 1 spot, while senior Scott Bernstein and DeFrancesch have played to a 1-1 record at No. 3 doubles.
Bucknell will take on some strong competition over the course of spring break, beginning with the program’s first-ever match against Old Dominion, a team which is currently in possession of an 8-4 overall record. The Bison have played South Carolina State, which is 3-4, only once before, falling to the Bulldogs in 2000, but have met George Mason on three occasions, playing to a 2-1 record, including a 4-3 win on March 22 of last year. The Patriots are currently 3-4 this season, but will play three matches before meeting the Bison in South Carolina. Bucknell will conclude its busy week with against St. Joseph’s, a team that it has never lost to. The Bison are currently 18-0 against the Hawks, who are currently 2-2, in a series that dates back to 1958.
Recaps and results from all four of Bucknell’s matches will be available on BucknellBison.com.