Six Saint Michael's College (SMC) Athletics programs had robust spring schedules cut short this year, with four amid their traditional competitive season. Two had yet to even play a game. We will take a look at each in an attempt to fully honor the achievements of those student-athletes affected, with a special focus on each team's senior class. We begin with men's tennis, which was 7-3 when the season ended.
Senior Salute: Believed to be the first three-year captain in program history, lone senior Matt Mosher (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Warde) was instrumental in the Purple Knights' rapid improvement the past two years. After the team won twice in his first two years combined, with Mosher forced to play as high as No. 1 singles and doubles as a sophomore, he eased into the middle of the singles lineup as a junior - when Saint Michael's won six matches - while going 10-10 in doubles before posting a 3-2 mark from the final three singles spots as a senior, when he was 7-4 in doubles, primarily at No. 3. Mosher sided with 13 different partners during his career, registering 19 wins in doubles to come within one of the program's career top 10. His 10 victories in 2018-19 tied for fourth all-time.
"The title of captain will never express the impact Matt has had on our program. His role since I arrived at Saint Mike's has been closer to that of a true assistant coach rather than a traditional captain. I fear that the sacrifice and dedication that he has shown to this team will never be fully understood, and is only outshined by the selfless and professional manner with which he has conducted himself. No one works harder than Matt, no one loves this team more than he does, and if our program produces five all-conference players and wins 10 conference championships, there will never be another tennis player more worthy of induction into the Saint Michael's Athletic Hall of Fame than Matthew Mosher." - Head Coach Jason Hammel
Season at a Glance: Men's tennis came out of the gates hot to begin a schedule that would have filled both the fall and spring semesters, with the Purple Knights 4-0 for the first time in 12 seasons after outscoring their opponents 31-1 through the fall segment of the school year. The fall season also included Saint Michael's making its debut at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) East Regional Championship on the grounds of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the long-time home of the US Open grand slam event in Flushing, N.Y. Five different players won at least once, with first-year Josh Weiss (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Mendon), the 29th-ranked player in the qualifier bracket, advancing to the main draw.
The Purple and Gold later moved to 6-1 for the first time since at least the early 1990s, while each of its first two losses came against regionally-ranked foes. A 5-2 setback at Adelphi University in the March 6 finale came down to three close singles losses - 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) at No. 1; 7-5, 6-2 at No. 2; and 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 10-2 at No. 5 - that could have swung the contest in the visitors' favor. With the top six in the eight-team Northeast-10 Conference qualifying for the postseason, Saint Michael's found itself a legitimate contender for its first tournament berth in 11 seasons.
The abbreviated season still saw Saint Michael's go 7-3, posting its highest win total since going 7-8 - in five more matches - during the 2008-09 school year. The .700 winning percentage is the program's best since 1992-93, when an 8-3 mark was good for a .727 success rate.
Bumper Crop: Among six newcomers to the program, Weiss and fellow first-years Jason Boucher (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) and Connor Scott (Bellevue, Wash./Newport) made a significant and immediate impact, combining to go 40-19 between singles and doubles, including 22-10 during solo matches while each holding down regular assignments between the No. 1 and 3 positions. Both 9-3 in doubles as regular partners, Boucher and Scott tied for third in program history in season doubles winning percentage (.750) while tying for eighth in wins. Boucher was 8-2 in singles, with his .800 winning percentage the squad's best since Sol Dostilio '02 went 9-2 in 1999-2000. Boucher's 17-5 record across both disciplines led to the fifth-best winning percentage (.773) in program annals, with 17 victories tying for eighth all-time - and just three short of the record with nine team matches left on the table due to cancelation.
Most Likely to Earn NE10 Honors:
According to Head Coach Jason Hammel, first-years Connor Scott and Josh Weiss are stand-out players.
About Scott, Hammel said: "Being a three-star recruit, [Scott's] presence here has been crucial in forming our program into a destination for national-class tennis players. In his short time on the team, he has already accomplished more than any player that I have coached since I arrived at Saint Mike's. His performance at one singles against the NE10 sent a message to our conference that what we are building is real, and special. I could not be more pleased with a player than I am with Connor."
About Weiss, Hammel said: "No one on my team works harder than first-year Josh Weiss, and since his first day of practice his presence helped to elevate every player around him. His work ethic, attitude, and performance helped to set a bar everyone on our team has tried to reach, which has helped take our program to another level. In turn that environment was a key factor in our team developing as fast as we have, and achieving the first winning season for men's tennis in over 10 years. No player has been more important to our team this year than Josh."