Klimchak, Kutner star in Fall Kickoff

The Fall Kickoff tournament against New York University (NYU) served as a tune-up for the Lions’ men’s and women’s tennis teams over the weekend. The tournament was exclusively individual competition consisting of three rounds of singles play and two rounds of doubles.

Sophomore Mike Klimchak and freshman Haley Kutner went undefeated in both singles and doubles for the weekend. Sophomore Christina Contrafatto went undefeated through all singles play.

“Overall, I am pleased with the team because they came into this tournament with injuries which gave other people chances to get into the lineup which is a good experience for the freshmen,” head coach Scott Dicheck said. “We have a much deeper team now with the strength of the freshmen, and our returning players are even stronger than last spring.”

Klimchak had an exciting weekend, going undefeated in the top flight of the tournament. In round one, he faced Mikhail Gurevich who advanced to the quarterfinals in last year’s ITA East Regional Championship. Klimchak defeated him 6-1, 6-1 with ease.

In round two, Klimchak beat freshman Calvin Chou 6-4, 4-6, 6-0. Klimchak then disassembled junior Ian Corn, rallying to beat him 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Freshman Roger Mosteller played alongside Klimchak in doubles play and overpowered NYU in both rounds, 8-1.

“I’m very happy about the tournament because it gives us a chance to start off on a good note and gives me a lot of confidence to face the tough schools coming up on our schedule,” Klimchak said. “I have large shoes to fill (for Ryan Carty), so I’m trying to step it up as much as I can.”

Kutner also came up big, making her college debut on the courts this weekend. As the doubles matches were finishing up on the final day, the crowd gathered around Kutner and junior Ayumi Yamazaki who were battling senior Megan Hayes and sophomore Meggie Smith in Flight ‘A’ doubles.

Down 2-7, Yamazaki and Kutner fought back and dominated the next seven games to edge past the Violets 9-7 and to go 2-0 for the day in doubles. Kutner hit multiple winners in the final sets of the match, putting the ball completely out of reach for the Violets.

“I’m very pleased with Haley and Ayumi because the two of them as a combination are very impressive, especially since they beat the No. 1 doubles team from NYU,” Dicheck said. “Their match was probably the highlight of the weekend for the women’s team.”

In singles play, Kutner dominated Flight ‘B,’ winning all three matches. Kutner defeated Hayes 6-2, 6-1, sophomore Jaclyn Manning 6-2, 6-3, and sophomore Hayley McLaughlin in three sets, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Contrafatto also showed her strength as she came from behind in all but one of her sets in singles play. She defeated Smith 7-5, 6-3, junior Erika Olson 6-1, 6-1 and freshman Stephanie Tu 6-2, 7-5.

In Men’s Flight ‘B’ singles, sophomore Sonnie Pollosco defeated senior Christopher Chang 6-3, 6-4. In the next round, Pollosco beat senior Joshua Beirne-Golden in a back-and-forth match, 6-2, 0-6, 6-0.

Pollosco’s fatigue caught up with him after the enduring weekend, as he surrendered a loss in the third round to freshman Craig Berger.

Freshman Matt Hiznay dominated his first collegiate match as he overwhelmed Beirne-Golden 6-1, 6-0 with smart tennis, good direction and even a behind-the-back shot that surprised everyone.

In Women’s Flight ‘A’ singles, Yamazaki defeated Tu 6-3, 6-2 and Smith 6-1, 6-3. In Flight ‘B’, senior captain Jackie Gavornik overcame Manning 6-1, 6-1 and Hayes 6-3, 6-1. Sophomore Ariel Donohue also defeated Hayes 6-1, 6-0 and Manning 7-5, 6-0.

Junior Karen Shih also went undefeated in the tournament in Flight ‘C’ singles and Flight ‘B’ doubles with junior partner Kristen Turturiello.

In doubles play, Junior Corey Ball and sophomore Eric Ferriere defeated NYU in tight matches 8-5, and 8-6.

Contrafatto and Gavornik also teamed together to beat NYU in the second round of doubles 8-3.

The women’s team will travel to Rutgers University-Newark for a 3:30 p.m. game today. The men’s team will take part in the Swarthmore College Invitational on Sept. 17-18.