From top to bottom, the Lions’ men’s tennis team dominated the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks on Saturday, defeating them 7-0.
The win gives the Lions a record of 2-1 for the spring.
Junior co-captain Justin Cook showed tenacity in second singles rallying back from a 0-5 deficit in the first set against Stevens’ junior Steve Su. Cook lost the first set 6-8 in the tiebreaker but turned the match around to defeat Su 6-3, 6-1 in the final two sets. The win gives Cook a 6-4 record for the year in singles play.
“He was left-handed and it was throwing me off at first, but I started working hard and I had a lot of confidence,” Cook said. “I had the momentum after the second game and I had figured him out at that point.”
Sophomore co-captain Ryan Carty defeated Stevens’ freshman Ricky Bawa 6-2, 6-2 in first singles. Carty’s aggressive play has him currently ranked No. 18 regionally in the NCAA and he hopes to eventually become nationally ranked. The win brings him to 10-2 for the year.
“My strategy was just to stay focused and keep my cool,” Carty said.
In an entertaining first doubles match, Carty and sophomore Corey Ball defeated Bawa and Su 8-3, improving their doubles record for the year to 9-1. The score, however, does not clearly represent the challenge the players faced. Carty struggled through the match while the Ducks’ Bawa continually surprised the Lions with scattered aces and unreachable shots that often split Carty and Ball.
“Wow, you are awesome!” Ball shouted after one of Bawa’s serves impressed him. Spectators chuckled at Ball’s exclamation, surprised at how he commended the skill of his opponent.
Carty and Ball were able to keep their focus and shut down the Ducks after that game.
“We had a strong weekend last week and we wanted to keep that going and show improvement as well,” head coach Scott Dicheck said. “One of our focuses for this week was an I-formation in doubles.”
Evidently, the Lions kept this focus, remaining undefeated in doubles play for the match.
The Lions’ seniors Victor Lai and Ken Tsui defeated Ducks’ seniors Ben Shaw and Ryan Telford 8-4 in second doubles. In third doubles, freshmen Mike Klimchak and Eric Ferriere crushed Stevens’ senior David Asis and sophomore Diego Quintana 8-0. Freshman Donald Pollosco and Cook won their fourth doubles match 8-0 also.
In other singles play, Klimchak beat Quintana 6-1, 6-2 in third singles to improve to 8-2 on the year. In fourth singles, Ferriere defeated Stevens’ junior Yuriy Steimakh to make his dual match record 3-0. Ball defeated Stevens’ sophomore Ian Mullican 6-0, 6-0 in fifth singles for a 7-1 record on the year.
In sixth singles, Pollosco rounded out the match by trouncing Asis 6-0, 6-0 for a year record of 9-2.
“I am glad that we won 7-0, but there are obvious areas to improve on for next weekend,” Dicheck said.
The team is sure they can qualify and advance through the NCAA Regionals.
“I am hopeful about the rest of the season based on how much better practices have been,” Cook said. “We could still use some work but we try to be optimistic.”
The College’s men’s tennis team will participate in the Drew University Invitational this weekend. The Lions women will host Muhlenberg College on Sunday at 4 p.m.