When senior Nick Chappell won the final game to close out a 7-6 first set victory in No. 18 TCU’s match against No. 46 Dartmouth, men’s tennis head coach David Roditi said the momentum seemed to shift toward the Horned Frogs.
“That was a huge, huge first set,” Roditi said. “Dartmouth was still hanging around… It would’ve given them hope winning that first set… Nick just shut the door on them and played a great tiebreaker.”
The Frogs capitalized on No. 39 Chappell’s (according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association) victory, defeating the Big Green 5-2 and extending their winning streak to four matches while remaining unbeaten at home.
TCU (13-5 overall, 0-1 Big 12) earned the doubles point by taking two out of the three matches. The No. 23-ranked combo of freshmen Trevor Johnson and Cameron Norrie took its match 6-4, while senior Facundo Lugones and sophomore Hudson Blake won their match 6-3 to secure the point.
But Dartmouth (8-5, 0-0 Ivy League) evened the score after No. 31 Norrie fell 1-6, 1-6 to begin singles play. Roditi said it was the worst he had seen Norrie play, but he believes Norrie will rebound in time for the Frogs’ second double-header match against No. 63 Texas-Arlington
“That was just terrible tennis,” Roditi said. “And [Norrie] would tell you that. But I have absolutely no doubt he will bounce back and give us a good performance this afternoon.”
While Norrie struggled in singles play, seniors Arnau Dachs and Will Stein stepped up and earned two more points for the Frogs. Dachs won his match 6-1, 6-2, while Stein defeated his opponent 6-3, 6-4.
“Arnau, when he’s healthy, he’s just a beautiful player,” Roditi said. “He knows the game as good as or better than anybody in college. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing outside or inside, on grass or on clay. He’s just a good tennis player.”
“Will had a game plan and he executed it really well. I thought that was a very disciplined, mature performance… There was a side of the other player that was weaker than the other and he just attacked that side… He didn’t overplay and he stayed within his game.”
With three singles matches completed, the attention inside the indoor facility of the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center turned to the middle court, where Chappell took his second set 6-3 to earn the Frogs’ fourth point and clinch the match victory.
“He stayed aggressive in the second set,” Roditi said. “I think that was a very competitively, well-played match.”
Following Chappell’s victory, freshman Guillermo Nunez (No. 116 in the nation) won his match 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. Johnson dropped his first set 4-6, and the Frogs forfeited his match in order to prepare for their next match.
The loss ends Dartmouth’s three-match winning streak. The Big Green have won four of their last six matches, however.
TCU will face Texas-Arlington at 5 p.m. A victory against the Mavericks would be the Frogs’ fourth over a ranked opponent in five tries. The Mavericks are currently on a three-match winning streak.