Facing Tufts for the 27th time since the outbreak of World War II, Wesleyan ended a 26-match losing streak to the Jumbos dating back to the last Cardinal victory on May 6, 1941, with a 5-4 triumph Sun., April 14. The win concluded a 3-0 NESCAC week for the Cardinals, all by 5-4 margins, as Wesleyan opened the week with a 5-4 win over 28th-ranked nationally Trinity, then conquered Hamilton, 5-4. Zach Brint '16 (photo) provided the margin of victory against Tufts as his win at #5 singles broke a 4-4 tie in the team scoring.
Tufts came into the match ranked 10th in the Northeast by the ITA. Wesleyan got an 8-6 doubles wins from Michael King '16 and Jeff Legunn '13 at #2, keeping their record unblemished this spring at 8-0. Also winning in doubles was the pair of Stephen Monk '15 and Donovan Suh '15, taking an 8-4 decision at #3.
Then came singles. Winning for the third time this week at #3 was Sam Rudovsky '16, posting a 7-6, 6-3 score. Legunn also made it a 3-0 week at #4 with his 6-2, 6-2 win. With Tufts taking three other singles matches, the score was tied, 4-4, with #5 still to be decided. Brint fell in the first set, 7-5, but recovered to take the second set in a tie-breaker, 7-6. As darkness and cold temperatures took over, the final match moved indoors. Brint served first and the opening five games were won on service. Brint then broke his Jumbo rival in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead, then held serve in the seventh game for a 5-2 edge. After dropping the next game, Brint held serve for the fifth time in the set for the 6-3 win, clinching the match for the Cardinals.
Wesleyan had won 10 of the 11 meetings with Tufts between 1919 and 1941. After a 35-year hiatus, the teams resumed playing each other during 1976-77 and have played more often than not over the 36 years since, all Tufts victories until this latest match. The last time the teams faced each other in Middletown during the 2010-11 season, Tufts escaped with a 5-4 win.
Wesleyan continues its NESCAC ways as Colby will be the next opponent in Middletown Sat., April 20.