The College’s women’s tennis team extended its impressive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) winning streak to 101 straight victories this week with a win against Ramapo College (3-1). This NJAC streak began over 20 years ago in 1982.
The Roadrunners were not able to be victorious in a single match against the Lions, who concluded the day going 9-0 in doubles and singles play.
Mother Nature would not allow the Lions a chance to garner their 102nd NJAC win on Saturday at Rutgers-Newark. Heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan dumped on most of the state, causing many sporting events to be postponed to a later date.
Sunday provided a beautiful opportunity for the women to compete against Kean University and William Paterson University. Both matches resulted in 9-0 victories, adding consecutive NJAC wins 102 and 103 to the growing list. Leading the Lions was NJAC Player of the Week, Ayumi Yamazaki at fourth singles. Yamazaki said the NJAC honor “was definitely unexpected, but it was a nice surprise.”
The freshmen duo of Christina Contrafatto and Ariel Donahue at first and fifth singles, respectively, won both matches easily, 6-0, 6-0. “(They are) making a good transition into college and seem to be improving after each practice,” Head coach Scott Dicheck said. Additionally, sophomore Kristen Turturiello and junior Caitlin Reich took over the court this weekend, beating both of their Cougars and Pioneer opponents 6-0, 6-0.
Turturiello feels the team’s success is a result of hard work in and out of practice.”So far we have really been determined and no matter who we play we just go out there and always treat each match like it’s our hardest,” Turturiello said.
With that type of mentality and work ethic, the Lions will fight for their 104th consecutive NJAC win against Montclair State University in Montclair before traveling to William Smith College next weekend to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional competition.
The men enjoyed a successful outing at the Philadelphia Area Tennis Tournament hosted by Haverford College on Saturday and Sunday. Out of the four teams competing, the Lions dominated the tournament, Dicheck said.
The tournament’s flight setup was unlike a normal match in which all the teams play at the same time. “(This) gave us time to bond as a team and improves the cohesiveness,” senior Ken Tsui said. Tsui was one of only three athletes honored at the tournament by receiving the Sportsmanship Award for his demeanor and play both on and off the court.
“It’s nice to be recognized because I respect my opponents on the court and have fun when I play,” Tsui said. “It was the cherry on top of a great weekend.”
The Lions took home victories in all but one flight. However, in most of the final matches the College had athletes competing against their own teammates. Sophomore Ryan Carty beat Muhlenberg’s Jeff Kraft 6-4, 6-3 in the Flight A finals as junior Justin Cook took third place.
In Flight B, freshman Mike Klimchak defeated his freshman teammate Sonny Polasco 4-6, 6-0, 1-0 (10). Flight C sophomore Corey Ball defeated Tsui in the finals 6-3, 6-0.
In doubles action, the tandems of Ball and Carty along with Tsui and Kilmchak took home titles in their respective flights on the tournament.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the team’s performance,” Tsui said. When asked about Klimchak as his doubles partner, Tsui said, “I can’t ask for more. His execution is flawless and he is very calm on the court.”
“We were almost all playing each other in final matches,” Ball said. “It was a great way to start the year with some confidence.”