Strong tennis season ends with loss in championship

Senior David Jackson was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s tennis player of the year, freshman Takura Happy won freshman of the year and head coach Carl Goodman was named coach of the year in the MEAC.

However, the tennis team fell short of achieving its primary goal of winning the conference title, despite a myriad conference accolades.

The Rattlers lost to the South Carolina State Bulldogs in the final round of the MEAC tournament (4-1). The Rattlers swept both the Delaware State Hornets and the Howard Bison 4-0 before stumbling against the Bulldogs in the final round of the championship.

Freshman Temuera Asafu-Adjaye said the Rattlers could have defeated the Bulldogs if they would have played the way they played the Bulldogs when they beat them the first time.

“We played them in the regular season so they knew what they had to deal with,” Asafu-Adjaye said. “They came back hard and on that day we didn’t execute some of the things we did last time.”

Asafu-Adjaye was the only Rattler to earn a point against the Bulldogs in the conference championship. He won his singles match in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

The Rattlers went up against the Bulldogs three weeks earlier on March 27, and Florida A&M edged past South Carolina State 4-3. Senior Forrest Jenkins said the second meeting was much more intense, and he said the Rattlers could have defeated the Bulldogs to win the title if they would have played better in doubles.

“They came out strong and took the doubles point,” Jenkins said. “That was crucial in the end. Had we won the doubles portion of the final, we would have had a much better chance of winning the championship.”

Jenkins lost his singles match in straight sets 6-0, 6-0. He and junior Maurice Wamukowa lost their doubles match 8-1.

Although they came up short of the conference title, Jackson said this team developed tremendously from the past season.

“I believe that this season was an improvement from last year since we made it to the finals,” Jackson said.
“South Carolina State just out played and out smarted us.”

Jackson lost his singles match in two sets 6-7, 4-3 and he lost his doubles match with junior Michael Moore 7-6.

Moore also earned all-MEAC honors for his play all season.

Jackson said he will never forget playing for the Rattlers and his experience here was unlike any other team that he had been a part of.

“I’m going to miss playing on a team of all blacks the most,” Jackson said. “No other experience on a team has been as much fun as my time here at FAMU.”