The men’s tennis team had a very busy week, winning two games this week at the College.
Friday’s match against New York University was a tough one, but the Lions edged out a 5-4 victory over the Violets. The doubles teams put the Lions ahead early, with the combination of senior Jonathan Yu and sophomore Dean Thompson as well as the pair of junior Stewart Fernandez and freshman Howard Telson, earning crucial victories.
“Dean and I do so well in doubles because we both stay relaxed in our matches,” Yu said. “We both know when to step up and elevate our game. Also when our matches get close, I don’t get rattled because I know Dean is a clutch player. His intensity in those close situations gives me the confidence to keep fighting.”
Fernandez and Telson took down senior Matt Gross and freshman Bowen Xu in a narrow 8-6 win.
“Along with the depth of the team this year, I think our biggest strength is our energy,” Thompson said. “You’ll never sit at one of our matches for more than three points without hearing a positive outburst from either a player on court or players watching the match.”
It was a quick turnaround for the team, as they faced Hobart College less than 24 hours later. Even with minimal downtime to recover, the Lions extended their season to 5-0 with a 7-2 victory.
The doubles team continued to perform well this season as all three pairs were victorious once more. Senior Jeremy Eckhardt shook off a loss in first singles the previous day to defeat sophomore Bruce Grant in identical 6-3 sets.
Second singles junior Steven Fernandez began his match against junior Matt Hursh with a strong 6-3 set, but Hursh rallied and went on to win the next two sets 6-3, 10-8.
After sophomore TJ Riley won his first set against sophomore Alex James 7-5, he suffered a major setback when both of his rackets broke. He continued the match with a teammate’s racket as his replacement, but Riley ultimately lost the fourth singles match 6-3, 6-1.
Yu’s third singles match proved to be the match winner, as his 6-1, 7-5 win over sophomore Sam DeLuccia gave the Lions the fifth win of the day.
Telson and junior Dan Lee racked up wins to wrap up the team’s five-day dominance at home. Telson dropped the first set to junior Walter Green 4-6 before rallying to win the next two 6-2, 10-8. Lee took down junior Kevin Bates in identical 6-3 sets.
“We’ve worked hard as a team, so my strength to play three matches so quickly comes from the time we’ve put in to getting ourselves in better shape,” Riley said.
The women’s team also played two matches at home this week, putting up impressive wins over New York Uuniversity and William Smith College. The Lions blanked the Violets 9-0 as junior Emily Petersack became the sixth player from the College to reach double victories in singles play, earning her 10th win against freshman Ramya Pokala.
Each of the doubles defeated their opponents in an 8-2 set. First singles junior Karisse Bendijo dominated senior Elizabeth Stachtiaris 6-2, 6-1. Fellow junior Felice Trinh defeated senior Liz Feldman 6-4, 6-0. Sophomore Paige Aiello also had an impressive victory over sophomore Ariel Sultan in third singles 6-2, 6-0.
The Lions match against William Smith College also included an early doubles sweep as they won 7-2 . Bendijo and sophomore Allison Tierney defeated junior Joanie Hilton and sophomore Kiara Ocasio 8-3, picking up their 17th doubles win. Sophomores Aiello and Lauren Balsamo walked away with an 8-2 victory over sophomores Remy Raevsky and Hallsey Leighton for their 14th win of the season.
In singles, Bendijo closed an impressive weekend with a complete 6-0, 6-0 shutout over senior Amanda Slack.
“I’m really looking forward to playing tough schools this season,” Bendijo said. “As a player, my game improves by playing teams that push me to work harder and learn from my mistakes.”