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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Junior Nathan Perrone key to Hawks’ comeback victory

Juniors Nathan Perrone and Johnnie Massart were the only Hawks to win both their doubles and singles matches. PHOTOS: LUKE MALANGA ’20/THE HAWK

Two and a half weeks into the regular season, the men’s tennis team currently stands with a record of 2-1 following a thrilling come from behind victory against the Quinnipiac University Bobcats.

Thanks to doubles wins in the early going from the teams of Nickolas Frisk and Johnnie Massart in the second flight, and Eshan Kanetkar and Nathan Perrone in the first flight, St. Joe’s was able to jump out to an early lead over the Bobcats.

However, that did not last long for the Hawks. Once singles play rolled around, momentum quickly bounced back in Quinnipiac’s favor when they managed wins in the second, fourth and fifth flights of single matches.

Despite a St. Joe’s win from Francesco Mowrey in the third flight, the Hawks still remained down 1-3. For Perrone who was in the midst of his singles matchup, it was easy to see that the outcome of this year’s meetup with Quinnipiac would be a close one.

“Singles play began and I didn’t really know how everybody was doing,” Perrone said. “I could tell that the guy next to me, our number two, was down, and then my match was really close, but we felt confident. Our number four player Eshan was down and in a long battle. Even though I couldn’t tell what was going on, I knew that it was really close. I just knew that the whole matchup was overall very close once everything had started.”

Despite being down against Quinnipiac with Perrone and Massart being the last two single matches in play, Perrone managed to finish off his opponent in a three-set victory to help draw the Hawks back level with the Bobcats.

Before coming to St. Joe’s, Perrone was ranked 120th in the world in the junior circuit by the International Tennis Federation.

“Obviously my coach, he didn’t want to let me know that we were down in the moment there, but at that point we were down 3-2,” Perrone said. “It was 5-0 in the third set with me, and so we were breaking each other back and forth, and then I eventually ended up winning that set.”

After Perrone’s win, the table was all but set for Massart to close out the victory for the Hawks, which he promptly did in a dominant two-set victory marking the finals score for the matchup 79-72.

A tremendous effort in a comeback victory for the Hawks, one would be quick to highlight Perrone’s clutch play as the turnaround point of this match, just as Volunteer Assistant Coach Tim Stierle ’18 did following his matchup.

“My coach, Tim Stierle, he actually sat with me the whole match and even came up to me after the match and said, ‘You basically just won it for us,’ because at that point our number six was up 5-0, but luckily Tim really kept me in it,” Perrone said.

Coaches and teammates alike highlight Perrone’s resilience particularly when his team needs it most.

“Nate is put in a spot every time we play which is a very tough spot because he always plays against the number one,” Assistant Coach Marc Pibernat said. “He is our number one, and you always have matches you play where you have to fight until the end and that was a perfect example of one of them.”

His doubles partner Kanetkar pointed out the passion that Perrone brings onto the court.

“I think Nate’s best attributes are his high skill level, extreme intensity and that fire that he plays with, and his ability to pick us up if we are struggling,” Kanetkar said.

Along with that, Coach Marc Pibernat explained how a win against a school such as Quinnipiac really helps set the tone early in the season for this year’s team.

“The squad was aware that we would have to prepare and do well for this match,” Pibernat said. “It’s a school that we’ve struggled with in the past and after the loss to [United States Naval Academy], we knew Quinnipiac was setting the tone for what comes next in a couple of matches.”

Approaching the end of this week, the Hawks will matchup against University of Connecticut, and Lafayette College on Feb. 22.

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