Cat Fight: Lions and Wildcats battle at kickoff tourney

The men’s and women’s tennis teams began their seasons on Friday, as they hosted the Lions’ Fall Invitational versus Division I Villanova University.

The men’s team played two rounds of singles matches against the Wildcats on Friday, while the women played one round of singles matches and one round of doubles matches.

“This weekend is going to be a good test for us,” senior Haley Kutner said before the tournament. “Villanova is a formidable team and will certainly force us to bring our best.”

Kutner’s statement proved to be correct as the Wildcats challenged the women’s team in singles matches, with the Lions finishing the tournament 9-7.

In Flight B play, freshman Felice Trinh’s victory over senior Lindsey Lostritto 9-8 (7-3) and freshman Christie Pollin’s win over freshman Kristen Gobberg 8-5 proved to be highlights.

The Lions dominated in doubles matches over the weekend as the women’s team took five of seven matches from the Wildcats. Juniors Stefanie Haar and Tamra Wroblesky tallied a 9-7 victory over Villanova’s top doubles team.

Freshman Emily Petersack and seniors Chrissy Principe and Lindsey Katzel also earned victories during the tournament.

“(The women’s team) had a very successful weekend,” head coach Scott Dicheck said. “They dominated in doubles against a Division I school, which is impressive.” Dicheck also mentioned the team is trying new combinations for doubles teams.

The men’s team did not experience the same success against Villanova. On Friday, the men played two rounds of singles matches but junior Jeremy Eckardt was the only Lion to earn a victory out of 16 total matches.

Eckardt defeated senior Brian Maher 6-4, 7-5 and went 1-1 on the day. The Lions finished their tournament on Sunday with two rounds of doubles matches, winning only one match. Eckardt and freshman Stewart Fernandez defeated junior John Drosick and sophomore Mike Taylor 9-8 (7-5) for the Lions’ lone doubles victory.

“I think the main impact the tournament will have on our team is motivating us,” Eckardt said. “It was good for the freshmen to see how different college tennis is from high school tennis

and also have the experience of playing a good team.”

Echoing Eckardt, Dicheck said he thought the tournament “was a good experience for the guys.”

“We have a very young squad and playing a Division I teamkeeps the guys motivated,” he said.

As the teams begin to prepare for the bulk of their fall schedules, they are always looking to improve.

“Just being on this team, there is no way that you can’t improve,” Pollin said. “Our coaches are always on us during matches and practices. They are always watching our game and observing what we do well and what needs to get worked on.”

And she intends to do the work. Pollin and her squad are fully committed to strength and conditioning training in preparation for the rest of their fall schedule.

“As far as conditioning and training, those are things that can always be improved. I plan on continuing going to gym and going on runs with the team outside of our normal season and obviously continuing on-court training,” she said.

“I want to work with the coaches on strategy for doubles, which is a completely new game for me and continue my knowledge of singles. Tennis is an on-going learning process, it will never end,” Pollin said.

The next challenge for the women’s team is against Richard Stockton College on Sept. 24. The men’s season will continue at the ITA Regional Tournament on Oct. 3.