Young Saints tennis team exudes optimism for future success
Madeline Ladd | Friday, May 13, 2022
Demonstrating the momentum they have been carrying year after year, the Holy Cross men’s tennis team recently finished off a successful season. Going 13-8 overall and 5-1 in their conference, the Saints also earned their first-ever Top-25 national ranking. The team placed second in the conference championships, falling short to Cardinal Stritch University. The Saints are a young team, with underclassmen encompassing 75% of the roster. This youth means there is lots of room for improvement, yet also lots of room for growth. This is something that head coach Eric Mahone recognizes and hopes to capitalize on.
“Our strength is in the fact that we are young and very talented, but this is always where we need to improve,” Mahone said. “We’re young, we’re starting pretty much all freshmen for the most part. We lack experience but then we are also very talented freshmen and sophomores. We’re optimistic about where we are headed but just need more experience.”
The Saints earned some big wins this season, one being over Saint Thomas (5-2), and the other against Indiana Tech (4-0). Both were nationally ranked teams that the men had never claimed victory over before. Additionally, a pivotal game for the Saints was their near victory against No. 2 Indiana Wesleyan. Though they fell short at home (2-4), the closeness of the matchup proved what the team was capable of.
Saints boast top talent, exciting future
In terms of capability, there is lots of talent present on the court from the Saints. Freshman Perry Gregg was credited with much success this season, and has the ability to make waves in the future. A true asset to the team, the Chicago native has not lost a single match this year in NAIA play.
“Our No. 1 player is Perry Gregg who is also the highest Universal Tennis Ranking (UTR) ranked player in the country NIAA,” Mahone said. “He’ll be first-team All American when it comes out. He is ranked No. 6 in the country at the moment, but in terms of UTR ranking which people go by, he is No. 1 in the country.”
Two other players that stood out this year were senior captain Dominic Gibson and sophomore William Page, a Michigan International Prep product.
Editor’s Note: Dominic Gibson is a sportswriter with The Observer.
“Gibson played a huge role being the leader of our doubles team all year,” Mahone said. “Page had the most [doubles] wins this year.”
Looking ahead to next year, Mahone has his sights set on a conference victory. With a solid underclassmen base, as well as a strong incoming class of recruits, there is lots of potential for the Saints.
“The outlook for next year would definitely be to win the conference,” Mahone said. “We think we are a top ten team in the country next year. We have the No. 1 player in Ireland coming in, and then we have a boy from Great Britain who is top 400 in the world.”
The program has undoubtedly been on an upward trajectory since its beginnings four years ago. And, with a combined team GPA of 3.79, the men are excelling off the court as well.
“We’re really excited about the season that we had and the direction the program’s gone,” Mahone said. “Every year we’ve gotten better. We went from sixth place the first two years in the conference, to third last year, and now to second. Hopefully we will finish it off next year in terms of our goals.”