STORY BY ASHLEY BEALL
Freshman Calum MacGeoch stood tall on the tennis court in Minneapolis on Saturday as he, for the second time this season, won a match for the Bulldogs.
After falling behind five games to one in the third set, MacGeoch battled back and sealed his team’s 4-3 victory on Friday.
MacGeoch is one of the four new freshmen on the Men’s Tennis team, a team that is now ranked 25th in the nation, and has become a key player.
A born Scotsman, MacGeoch is one of the seven international players on the Men’s Tennis team.
MacGeoch arrived at Drake in January of 2015, as he had enough credits to leave school early at the age of seventeen.
Kozlowski hadn’t planned on recruiting MacGeoch from the start, particularly because of his age, but accidentally stumbled upon him at a recruiting trip when weather delayed the matches for the 18-year-old group.
After watching MacGeoch play and seeing his potential on the court, Kozlowski knew that he would be one to watch and bring to Drake.
“The idea was to have him red-shirt and have him practice for the first year and let him get a little more mature and stronger,” head coach Davidson Kozlowski said. “But he came in and was further along in his development than we anticipated and we talked to him about playing this year.”
Not only was playing so early a surprise to MacGeoch, but the climate in the American tennis community has also been a significant change for MacGeoch.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, coming out and playing. I think that college tennis is a lot different than just the tennis play that you play in juniors, MacGeoch said. “It’s a lot more team-based and no matter how well you’re playing, you have to always be supporting your team and be positive even if you may not feel like it. It’s all about getting together as a team and supporting each other and that’s what makes us play better.”
The mentality with which his opponents take to the court is also something that MacGeoch has had to adjust to.
“Back home you don’t really find as many people that are as intense as the people here,” MacGeoch said. “On the court, there’s a lot of energy and people are prepared to go a lot further in terms of winning matches than they are back home. It makes you tougher as a person to compete against these guys who willing to leave anything on the court.”
The guidance of his fellow teammates has helped make MacGeoch’s adjustment to living, studying and playing in America an easy one.
“(Once our international teammates) get here, we introduce them to people and show them how off-the-court life is with professors and classes … and do as much as possible to help them transition,” senior Ravi Patel said. “It’s not always easy for some (to transition), but he’s been a great guy and a great teammate.”
MacGeoch has played a large role in the success of the Bulldogs this year, especially when he clinched the match in an upset, come-from-behind team victory against North Carolina State in three sets on Feb. 14. The win capped off a five-game winning streak for MacGeoch, who now has a 7-2 record on the season.
“It’s going to help him along the way to have that win in his back pocket,” Patel said. “I’m happy for him and to see what his future holds at Drake.”