Both tennis teams enjoyed positive transitions into April, as the men’s team sandwiched a loss to No. 22 Skidmore College with a pair of wins last week while the women’s team made a strong bid to move up the national rankings by triumphing at No. 21 University of Mary Washington.
The men’s team first earned a dominant 8-1 win over Kutztown University (Division II), fell 6-3 to Skidmore, and closed out the week with a 5-4 victory over Franklin and Marshall College that showcased the renaissance week senior Stewart Fernandez had.
Fernandez clinched the win against Franklin and Marshall with a late win in singles, 7-5, 6-1, and has been perfect in the first doubles position with sophomore Howard Telson since being moved there against Kutztown.
“Stew pulled through big time in our match today against (Franklin and Marshall). He did what he knew he could do from the start and he played smart tennis, which is the key for him,” junior T.J. Riley said.
On the 7-0 Fernandez-Telson pairing, Riley said that “Stew and Howie are tough. They hit big penetrating shots that cause issues for their opponents and they also serve huge consistently, which is a big advantage in doubles because it sets up the net man to cross and put a ball away. They are a very formidable team that attacks with power and intensity and they ride both of those the whole match until it is over.”
Riley added two points in singles and earned a doubles win over the course of the week, junior Marc Nichols picked up four points across singles and doubles with senior Bill Carrig, and freshman Gabe Allen picked up his fifth and sixth wins to continue a fine debut season in the sixth singles position.
Meanwhile, the women rode a combination of strong doubles and singles play to win 6-3 at Mary Washington, staking their claim to a higher ranking in Division III.
The Lions, ranked 23rd in Division III and still undefeated against Division II and III teams, took two doubles and four singles matches to improve to 12-1.
Seniors Felice Trinh and Emily Petersack combined for another win in the second doubles position with a score of 8-4, while the partnership of juniors Paige Aiello and Lauren Balsamo won 8-3 in the third position to give the Lions an early 2-1 lead.
In singles, Trinh (second singles position) won a marathon set 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, junior Allison Tierney (third) won 6-2, 6-4, Aiello (fourth) won 6-4, 6-4 and freshman Deborah Wu (sixth) improved to 11-0 in dual meets to secure the road victory.
The women will return to the court when they host SUNY New Paltz and Salisbury University on Saturday, April 14, while the men travel to Villanova this Saturday and then to Drew University on Tuesday.