The Lions headed to Orlando for spring break, and met some of their fiercest competition of the season. Over the course of the week the College matched up with three different teams in the top 30 ranking in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III poll.
The men’s team — who play their core schedule in the spring — came to Orlando with no victories and one loss on the season, but after three days they left Florida with an even record of 2-2.
The men’s most impressive matchup during the week was a loss to the undefeated Vassar College.
The Brewers came into the match supporting an 8-0 record and the No. 22 rank in the ITA Division III poll. However, none of these accomplishments seemed to phase the Lions as they fought hard until the end in a 5-4 loss.
“We knew they would be good,” sophomore Steve Fernandez said. “We beat them last year though, so we knew they weren’t special and we knew we could win. We had a lot of chances to get ahead, but they were just the better team that day.”
Junior Dan Lee put forth his best effort as he won in both singles and doubles. Lee defeated senior Jeremy Arthur to kick start his efforts and followed that up by pairing with junior Jonathan Yu to take down the Brewer duo of juniors Greg Katz and Josh Jasso.
Freshman Keith Goldstein — who went 3-0 during the week — was the only other Lion to edge out a Brewer in singles match-up, while the twin tandem of sophomores Steve and Stewart Fernandez were the only other team to win in doubles play.
The Fernandez twins fell short in their singles match-ups against Vassar, but played a strong role from the top two singles positions as well as in first-team doubles in the Lions two other matches.
Steve Fernandez finished the week at 2-1 in singles play defeating opponents from the University of Rochester and Carthage College.
His play set a standard for the Lions as they shutout the Yellowjackets 9-0 and defeated the Red Men 8-1.
“I try to show a good positive attitude,” Steve Fernandez said. “I try to cut out anything negative because the rest of the guys are kind of looking at you as an example and you want to keep it positive.”
Playing side-by-side the Fernandez twins also contributed a doubles victory in each of those wins and finished the week at 3-0 in doubles play.
The women’s team came into the week with an undefeated record, but left with a blemish as they only took two out of their three matches.
The Lions lone loss of the week and of the season came against Emory University, who is ranked second overall in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III poll.
The Lions efforts were not enough as the Eagles defeated them by a score of 8-1. The only Lion to come out victorious was freshman Lauren Balsamo, who edged out sophomore Daniela Schechter 6-3 and 7-5.
Fortunately, the Lions were able to show their colors the following day as they bounced back with an 8-1 victory over 26th ranked Coe College.
Senior Jackie Shtemberg led the way in the Lions victory as she won in singles and doubles play.
The duo of freshmen Allison Tierney and Karisse Bendijo were equally impressive as they not only won as pair in doubles, but also won individually in singles play.
The Lions other victory came against the University of Rochester by a score of 7-2.
Most of the Lions played well against the Yellowjackets, but sophomore Paige Aiello stood out as she defeated junior Jillian Dann with back-to-back scores of 6-0.
The men’s team will face their next test today versus Muhlenberg College, while the women’s team will wait until March 27 to face St. Lawrence University.