Williamsburg - The William and Mary men's tennis team will open a three-match homestand on Friday, March 13, when the Tribe battles its third Big Ten foe of the season in No. 66 Penn State. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. start. The College will wrap up the weekend with a Sunday, March 15, doubleheader against No. 63 Harvard and Howard. W&M faces the Crimson at 10 a.m., before welcoming the Bison to Williamsburg at 5 p.m. All three matches are scheduled to be played at the Busch Tennis Courts, weather permitting. With rain and low temperatures in the forecast, the matches could be moved indoors to the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center.
The Tribe, who remained No. 49 in the national rankings this week, wrapped up its West Coast road swing with a 5-2 setback to No. 14-ranked Pepperdine. In total six of the Tribe's seven losses this season have come to teams ranked No. 26 or higher in the national rankings. Sophomores Sebastien Vidal (at No. 3) and Varun Pandit (at No. 6) tallied three-set singles wins for the Green and Gold against the Waves. While on the West Coast, W&M also took part in the prestigious Pacific Coast Doubles Championship. Vidal and junior Keziel Juneau won the consolation bracket of the event, while the College also placed a pair of teams in the main draw round of 16. Senior Dominic Pagon and freshman Ilja Orre as well as the team of Pandit and associate head coach Marcos Asse earned berths in the round of 16.
Penn State enters the match with the Tribe at 6-5 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions, who opened the season ranked No. 39 nationally, are coming off a 7-0 sweep of No. 74 Maryland on March 8. The Terrapins are one of two common opponents between the Tribe and Nittany Lions. The College fell to Maryland, 4-3, while both teams tallied 4-3 wins over the Boilermakers. Guillaume St-Maurice and Brendan Lynch lead PSU in singles wins with 10 each. Combined St-Maurice and Lynch comprise the 80th-ranekd doubles team in the country. It will be the first meeting between the Tribe and Nittany Lions since 1991 when PSU tallied a 5-4 win in Williamsburg.
Harvard jumped three spots in the national rankings this week and enters the weekend with a 5-3 ledger. They will battle Old Dominion on Saturday, before facing the Tribe. The Crimson opened the season ranked No. 48 nationally and won the ECAC Division I Men's Indoor Tennis Championship with three straight wins over St. John's, Penn and Columbia. The Crimson and Tribe have one common opponent in Northwestern. Harvard fell to the Wildcats, 7-0, in Evanston, Ill., while the Tribe rallied for a 4-3 win over Northwestern in Williamsburg. Senior Chris Clayton is the Crimson's top singles player as he is ranked No. 65 nationally in the ITA singles poll. Last season, Harvard tallied a 4-3 win over W&M in Boston, Mass.
Howard is 1-6 on the season following a 7-0 loss to No. 1-ranked Virginia on March 10. The Bison's lone victory on the season with a 6-1 triumph over Winston-Salem State as part of the MEAC Round Robin in Sumter, S.C. Howard will host Maryland-East Shore and Richmond on Friday and Saturday, March 13-14, before traveling to Williamsburg. Last season, the Tribe rolled to a 7-0 victory over Howard in Williamsburg.
Following the three-match homestand, W&M will travel to take part in the Blue-Gray Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala., March 19-21. Along with the Tribe, the Classic field includes No. 6 Tennessee, No. 30 Texas Tech, No. 20 Auburn, No. 22 Notre Dame, No. 23 Alabama, No. 26 Boise State, No. 28 Wisconsin, No. 34 Oklahoma State, No. 40 Oklahoma, No. 42 Fresno State, No. 45 VCU, No. 58 Middle Tennessee State, No. 66 Penn State, No. 75 Mississippi State and Hawaii.