Mixed beginnings for Lions’ tennis

The women’s team, ranked No. 17 in the nation, spent its week increasing its New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) win streak to 117 consecutive matches as it rolled past Rutgers University-Newark 9-0. The streak’s roots date back to Fall 1982.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t end anytime soon,” head coach Scott Dicheck said, “but you take it one day at a time.”

All-American athletes senior Christina Contrafatto and sophomore Jackie Shtemberg took a doubles match from the Scarlet Raiders as well as a singles match each.

“It feels weird to think that this is my final year to play tennis (in college),” Contrafatto said. “I hope for the team to go as far as we did last year – and hopefully farther.”

“All the teams in the conference know that we are a very strong team and they always play us with a fight,” she continued. “We want to continue the streak, so we never take a match or opponent for granted. There is definitely pressure, but we go out there and do our best.”

The Lions also competed at the University of Delaware Invitational over the weekend, where both Contrafatto and Shtemberg showed match control in their singles and doubles contests. Shtemberg is the singles regional defending champion, while Contrafatto won the title in 2006.

“I’m excited that I am playing well and that I also have a lot to gain in improvement,” Contrafatto said.

Junior Lindsay Katzel, freshman Amanda Berg and sophomores Tamra Wroblesky and Stefanie Haar dominated their singles and doubles matches against Rutgers-Newark.

Berg was paired with Haar, while Wroblesky was teamed with sophomore Sarah Roser. Dicheck was very encouraged by the performances of all his players and was especially impressed by his highly-touted freshman recruit.

“(Berg) had a very good weekend,” Dicheck said. “She’s done very well in her short time here and she just keeps getting better and better. She’s going to be something special.”

The men’s team was swept by Delaware at the Swarthmore College Invitational over the weekend. Despite the early-season setback, Dicheck looks forward to the next challenge.

The women’s team will face Richard Stockton College today at 3:30 p.m. before traveling to the International Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Regionals at William Smith College in Geneva, NY on Saturday.

The men’s team will take the court again at the ITA Northeast Regionals at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. on Sept. 28.

Both teams hope to use the ITA Northeast Regional competition as a stepping stone to the ITA Nationals which are scheduled to take place in October in Mobile, Ala.