By Connor Smith
Social Media Editor
The men’s and women’s tennis teams battled harsh winds and tough opponents in last week’s Division III (D-III) matches. Both teams went 1-1 on the week, as they continue to test themselves against top ranked opponents.
Both teams hit the road on Saturday, April 2. The women’s team traveled to Swarthmore College, while the men’s team sought revenge against a familiar foe in Fredericksburg, Va.: the men’s team earned their 6-3 win over New York University (NYU), while the women’s team beat Swarthmore College, 8-1.
The men’s team matched up well against NYU on Wednesday, March 30. With the heightened stakes of a rivalry game, the doubles competition looked bleak for the College.
While juniors Jack August secured an 8-1 win on court one, the Lions were met with tough opposition on courts two and three. Freshmen Matt Puig and Tim Gavornik faced match point, down 5-7 on court three, as senior Pierce Cooper and freshman Mitchel Sanders were locked in a tie game on court two.
“Matt kept saving all those match points,” Gavornik said. “I knew I just had to give him a break-point chance.”
The freshmen duo rallied to win four straight games, bringing home the set, 9-7. With the news of a 2-0 lead in the back of their minds, Cooper and Sanders rallied through a tiebreaker to win 9-8 (8-6).
“The atmosphere was unbelievable,” Puig said. “Every time we saw them get a big shot, we got pumped up and vice versa.”
The Lions clinched the win with victories on courts four and six. Stanley (6-3, 6-1) and Gavornik (6-0, 6-1) translated momentum from doubles into the match-clinching victories in singles competition, while sophomore Chris D’Agostino tacked on a win in straight sets (6-5, 6-1) on court five to end the match 6-3 in favor of the College.
“They’re our northeast rivals, so to do it against them is huge,” Gavornik said. “It was a great, overall team win.”
The players on the men’s team weren’t the only ones who faced fierce doubles competition. Freshman Grace Minassian and sophomore Maddy Stoner found themselves tied at eight on court one against Swarthmore College on Saturday, April 2.
“First and second doubles fought through tough matches,” head coach Scott Dicheck said. “Everyone really stepped up.”
In the end, the College netted all three wins in doubles, winning the tiebreaker on court one 9-8 (7-4). Seniors Emma Allen and Jasmine Muniz-Cadorette won 8-5 on court two, while junior Anna Prestera and freshman Alyssa Baldi won 8-3 on court three.
“We played some of our best singles all year,” Dicheck said. “Emma just dominated — every time she went to swing, you knew something good was coming off her racquet. You knew she could hit a winner at any time.”
The College lost its shutout to a third set tiebreaker on court four, but earned major wins in straight sets on every other court.
Meanwhile, the men’s team dropped their first D-III match of the year on Saturday, as they fell, 6-3, to University of Mary Washington, the team that eliminated the College from the NCAA D-III Tournament last May.
“We had our chances in the doubles,” Dicheck said. “The truth is, they were just a little bit better.”
On Sunday, April 3, the women’s team hosted Skidmore College with a renewed sense of confidence while facing a team that has bested them often in recent years.
The Lions dropped courts one and two by narrow margins (8-6 and 8-4). Prestera and Baldi put the team on the board with an 8-5 win on court three.
Unfortunately for the College, Skidmore clinched the victory with singles wins on courts one, two, five and six, ending the match, 6-3.
Meanwhile, the men’s team is still on the hunt for an NCAA D-III Tournament seed.
“We obviously had fun beating NYU,” Puig said. “Now we need to look forward.”