Lions’ tennis sweeps up the competition

The College had a busy week as the women’s team took down Rutgers University-Newark 9-0 to extend its New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) winning streak to 112. The team then participated in the University of Delaware Tri-Fecta Tournament with Towson University.

The men’s team enjoyed a fine performance in the Swarthmore College Invitational as Mike Klimchak led the Lions once again.

The women’s team had a strong showing in the Blue Hen house, led by freshman Jackie Shtemberg. The rookie went 3-1 in the tournament, her only loss coming to junior Susan Pollack of Delaware 6-2, 6-3.

Shtemberg’s loss to Pollack was impressive, however, because last season Pollack took All-American junior Christina Contrafatto out with bagels – Contrafatto did not win a single game. The young freshman has made quite the impact for the Lions on the season thus far, just as head coach Scott Dicheck predicted.

“She definitely is (living up to expectations),” Contrafatto said. “I’m not concerned about losing my spot (to Shtemberg) though because I know I’m a strong player and wherever I am on the team I will make a good contribution. It’s anyone’s spot; just if you work hard you deserve it.”

Contrafatto and Shtemberg joined in flight A doubles to go 2-2 in the tournament. Junior Ariel Donahue also made some waves as she too went 3-1 in the tri-fecta tournament in flight D singles.

In the streak-extending win over the Scarlet Raiders, the Lions completely dominated their opponent. The only close match was a nail-biter between freshman fourth singles player Tamara Wroblesky and Rutgers’ freshman Fatima Grammatica. The match went to a tiebreaker after a 4-6, 6-4 performance by Wroblesky. The rookie Lion came back to crush Grammatica 10-2 in a super tie-breaker an hour after everyone else competing had finished.

Shtemberg and Contrafatto joined again in first doubles to demolish the team of freshman Megan Reed and sophomore Nicole Rubinetti 8-0. Freshman third singles player Stefanie Haar defeated junior Fergie-Ross Montero 6-1, 6-0 and Shtemberg, sophomore Haley Kutner and Donohue had 6-1, 6-1 victories in their respective singles matches.

After being named the favorites once again in the NJAC, the Lions have a lot to look forward to.

“We have a tough match (today) against Richard Stockton College of New Jersey,” Contrafatto said. “They are the second strongest in the NJAC and they are always excited to play us. It’s more than just the streak to win now, since it’s our door to nationals.”

With several undefeated seasons in their past, the team is confident in where they stand.

“We just know that intimidation is a factor since they know we are strong and getting stronger every year,” Contrafatto said. “But we still can’t take any team for granted.”

In men’s tennis, junior first singles player Mike Klimchak won the flight A singles title at the Swarthmore tournament. He defeated freshman first singles player Austin Longacre of Delaware in a tie-breaker 6-4, 3-6 (8).

Four other Lions finished in second place in the five-team event, featuring Swarthmore College, Haverford College, Temple University and the University of Delaware.

Klimchak rolled to victories in his first two matches, defeating senior Jonathan Reiss of Swarthmore 6-1, 6-1 and freshman Gonzalo Devilla of Temple 6-0, retired. Devilla got revenge against Klimchak in first doubles as Devilla and senior Matt Stuble defeated Mike Klimchak and sophomore Roger Mosteller 9-7 en route to a second-place finish.

In doubles play, senior Corey Ball and junior Eric Ferriere won the flight B Championship, while freshman Jeremy Eckardt and sophomore James Vance won the flight C doubles title by overcoming a 5-1 deficit and winning seven straight games.

In third singles, Ferriere finished in second place. He defeated senior Sam Sidhu of Swarthmore 6-0, 6-1 and junior Jonathan Schwartz of Delaware 1-6, 6-3 (10-5) before losing to sophomore Alex Buxbaum of Haverford 2-6, 2-6.

Ball, junior sixth singles player Andrew Cossaboom and sophomore eighth singles player Matt Hiznay all finished second in their respective flights.

Again the Delaware tennis team dominated the tournament, winning six of the eight flights. The Swarthmore Tournament was a non-team scored event.

Next on the schedule for the Lions is the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regionals at Vassar College Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The women will take on Richard Stockton today at 3:30 in the tennis complex. The ITA Regionals for the women’s team will begin Sept. 22 at William Smith College.