Stepping right into the top spot of the Cardinals' ladder from the opening match against Northeastern Sat., Nov. 20, John Steele '14 (photo) was the lone Cardinal to post a 3-0 mark during matches over the weekend as Wesleyan downed Northeastern, 8-1, and M.I.T., 9-0, while dropping an 8-1 decision to NESCAC rival Bates.
Ranked #27 in the preseason CSA national poll, Wesleyan captured the comfortable victories over the local Boston squads as Northeasten was ranked #30 and M.I.T. #32. Facing #12 Bates, Steele came through with a 3-2 triumph, rallying from a 2-1 deficit to win the final two games, 11-8 and 11-6. Jeff Berman '14, playing #5, was the only other Cardinal to take a game from his Bobcat adversary, losing 3-1.
As expected, Wesleyan's starting lineup featured six freshmen with each posting a 2-1 record other than Steele. Two of the three upperclassmen, co-captains Dale Kobrin '11 and Matt Candal '11, occupied positions #2 and #3, respectively, on the ladder. Demonstrating the nature of the additional talent on board in 2010-11, Lucas Wherry '13, who posted a 15-10 record a year ago while playing 14 matches at #6 and 11 at #7, spent his time in Boston manning the #9 spot.
The Cardinals will put their freshman-ladened lineup to the test again Fri., Dec. 3 when they take on NESCAC foe Tufts to open the three-day Wesleyan Round Robin. Tufts is ranked #20 in the preseason poll and defeated Wesleyan, 8-1, last year. This gives the team members a great opportunity to demonstrate the squad's improvement. Wesleyan has a pair of matches scheduled for Saturday and two more on Sunday to close out the event.