The women’s tennis team continues to dominate while, after two difficult losses to ranked opponents, the men’s team looks to bounce back before the postseason.
Both teams hosted Bates College during the week with mixed results. The women rolled over the Bobcats, 9-0, but the men fell in a heartbreaking loss, 5-4.
“It was a hard-fought battle,” head coach Scott Dicheck said regarding the men’s loss. “We came out tight but we gave ourselves a shot to win.” Dicheck went on to say he thought the women’s team “played extremely well coming off a tough loss (to the University of Mary Washington).”
The women’s team, nationally ranked 26th prior to the match, made quick work of Bates, sweeping the Bobcats in doubles and singles matches. The duos of senior Christina Contrafatto and sophomore Jackie Shtemberg (8-3), sophomores Tamara Wroblesky and Sarah Roser (8-6) and sophomore Stephanie Haar and junior Haley Kutner (8-3) were the winning doubles duos. With the win, Shtemberg and Contrafatto improved their season record to 21-9 on Wednesday and are ranked third regionally.
In singles action, the women took each match easily as no matches went to tiebreaker. Shtemberg continued her impressive season with 6-0 and 6-1 victories over Bates’ top player, senior Cecilia Grissa. Shtemberg is ranked first in the Internation Tennis Association’s regional singles poll and improved her record to 23-8 with the win.
Other winners for the College include Contrafatto (6-1, 6-1), freshman Amanda Berg (6-3, 6-2), Haar (6-3, 6-2), Kutner (6-2, 6-1) and Roser (6-0, 6-1). The Lions are now 11-6 on the season.
“We didn’t let our guard down just because they weren’t a huge threat to us,” Shtemberg said. “We knew that it was still an important match because they are in our region and a win would help our chances of getting into the first rounds of the national tournament.”
The 20th-ranked men’s team did not fare as well as the women, as it lost a close match to the 27th-ranked Bates men’s team. Sophomore Jeremy Eckardt and senior Eric Ferriere (8-3) won at No. 2 doubles while the two senior captains, Mike Klimchak and Roger Mosteller fell at No. 1 doubles, 8-4. The senior duo is now 10-4 on the year and ranked third in the regional poll.
“(Mosteller) and I came out a little flat and weren’t really meshing well together,” Klimchak said. “Bates had a great doubles team, but I feel that we definitely could have performed better.”
Klimchak performed well in his No. 1 singles match, defeating junior Benjamin Stein in a top-10 regional showdown. The third-ranked Klimchak took down seventh-ranked Stein, 6-4, 6-3, and is now 16-8 on the year.
“Our team fought hard until the very end, and obviously we were extremely heartbroken with the loss,” Klimchak said. “After beating three top-15 teams, you never want to lose to a team ranked outside the top 25.”
Only the men traveled to Vermont to try to lift their record and spirits against the highly ranked Middlebury College. The eighth-ranked Panthers overpowered the Lions, defeating them 8-1. The only victory for the College came from Klimchak and Mosteller as they came out victorious again at No. 1 doubles, winning 8-6.
This loss ends the regular season for the men’s team as it finishes the year 9-5. The women’s team finished its season yesterday in a match against Swarthmore College.
Both teams are now preparing for the NCAA Division III Regional Championships and the NCAA Division III Team and Individual Championships.