Your Men’s Tennis Centennial Conference Player of the Week of March 13th, 2022, the 6’3” Welsh goliath from Connecticut, Darby Rogers! After a successful spring break week, going undefeated in singles and doubles, 10-0, Rogers earned this prestigious acknowledgment from the Centennial Conference. Rogers is expected to be one of the most successful players this season and in recent Ursinus history.
With nine wins tallied last year at fourth singles in his sophomore campaign, Rogers has almost surpassed his singles record without even entering the peak of the spring season. Rogers’s current record for the year is 8-1, tallying two wins and one loss in the fall season at third singles and five back-to-back wins in the fourth singles slot this spring and one at home against Lebanon Valley. Rogers was solidified in the fourth spot this past fall; however, all of the players had to move up a spot due to a first singles ankle injury.
Rogers is undefeated in doubles, 9-0, with two different partners – he won three matches in the fall with junior Will Oberholtzer at first doubles, and has won six matches with junior Ethan Yu at second doubles so far in the spring season. Their doubles career together only just launched on spring break, and Yu seems to be taking a liking to their court chemistry. “Our doubles dynamic is really solid, and I like it a lot. We pick each other up if we do poorly on a point, there is no negative energy. We provide a good balance for one another, and we are very level-headed on the court,” says Yu. The doubles pairing makes an excellent match, but both players offer different skill sets. Yu cites Darby’s “massive serve” which sets up Yu with an easy shot to “put away soft returns from our opponents” and win a lot of service games for them. Darby’s strength is a great asset to the doubles team, especially when facing hard-hitting nationally ranked Centennial Conference teams. “Darby hitting basically 140mph just right up the middle is something I really admire him for, the kid doesn’t hold back,” says Yu.
With already 41 wins under his belt, Rogers has a good chance to reach the milestone of 50 wins in his junior year. Even with a shortened freshman season due to COVID, reaching this milestone as a junior is a major accomplishment. “For me to get 50 wins this season would be a huge goal that I did not think would be achievable. I think coming to Ursinus I was kind of under the radar about my ranking and my coach did not see how good I was at tennis. He recruited me to be a good team spirit recruit, which I have done, but I worked hard and got a lot better adding wins to my record,” says Rogers. The last juniors to surpass this achievement were Matt Font ‘2021 and Mason Groff ‘2021, who reached 50 wins back in the early spring of 2020. Fifty wins to Rogers would be “the biggest accomplishment in the sport to achieve in my career” to show that his hard work for the last three years has paid off.
With increasingly difficult matches approaching throughout the season, Rogers is particularly excited about two intense Centennial matchups. “Dickinson and Gettysburg are the matches I am looking forward to. Our team has gotten better and so have they,” says Rogers. Both matchups in the 2022 spring season ended 5-4, Ursinus, and this year is expected to be no different. There is no room for error in these matches, only intensity. “It will come down to everybody playing their best and who had a better breakfast and sleep last night,” says Rogers. The Bears take on Gettysburg away on Saturday, March 25th, and Dickinson at home on Saturday, April 1st, both dual matches with the women’s team.
For the rest of the season, Rogers intends to “keep practicing away the way we are as a team, we’ve been working very hard and showing out on match day to rack up wins.” Although tennis is a team sport, it also has an individual aspect in the way that one player can help win a match for the entire team being alone on the court out there. Taking one point at a time Rogers “builds off the momentum to get through the battle on the court and look forward to winning this match for your team and yourself.”
Ava Compagnoni firstname.lastname@example.org