By Miguel Gonzalez
Both the men’s and women’s teams were victorious this week. On Wednesday, April 5, the Lions defeated Division I Lafayette College, 8-3. They then defeated Ithaca College, 7-2, on Saturday, April 8, and narrowly won against Franklin and Marshall College, 5-4, on Sunday, April 9. Meanwhile, the Lady Lions blasted Ithaca College, 7-2, on Saturday, April 8.
After enduring a 8-1 loss against the University of Mary Washington last week, the Lions rebounded with three consecutive victories. With the weather warming up, the Lions moved away from indoor play at the Student Recreation Center and played their first home match at the Tennis Complex against the Leopards.
“Our team needs to beat as many opponents as possible in order to qualify for the NCAA tournament,” head coach Scott Dicheck said. “It’s tougher for the men’s team to make it because we are independent. We don’t have a conference to win and at-large bids are challenging to obtain.”
The Lions began the meet by sweeping the Leopards in the doubles competition. The team continued their momentum into singles where they lost only one match. Leopards freshman Drew Brooks defeated junior Chris D’Agostino in two sets, 6-4 and 6-3.
On Saturday, the Lions beat Ithaca College, 7-2. Even though the Lions only conceded singles matches, each win was hard fought.
After sweeping a doubles competition with fellow sophomore Matt Puig, sophomore Mitchel Sanders went the extra mile against freshman Minos Stavrakas. In three contentious sets, Sanders prevailed over Stavrakas.
In the last singles match, senior Mike Stanley came from behind to beat Bombers sophomore Sam McGrath and gained the match point in a 10-7 set.
While the men’s team was disposing the Bombers, the Lady Lions were detonating the Bombers at Mercer County Park in West Windsor Township, N.J.
Sophomore Alyssa Baldi highlighted the meet when she blanked Bombers sophomore Taylor Ginestro in two consecutive 6-0 sets.
The men’s tennis team finished the weekend with a close 5-4 win against Franklin and Marshall College. In doubles, the Lions held a 2-1 advantage against the Diplomats. Both teams then fought equally in singles.
With a 4-3 deficit, the Lions rallied to win two consecutive matches. The rally started when sophomore Tim Gavornik defeated Diplomats junior Will Samuels to tie the day at 4. In the deciding singles match, Stanley prevailed over Diplomats freshman Andrew Pace to give the Lions the 5-4 victory.
“Stanley is a seasoned veteran for our team,” Dicheck said. “He can handle a lot of pressure while performing well. Guys like him improve everyday to win in these types of situations.”
The Lions will play at the Tennis Complex against Muhlenberg College on Wednesday, April 12, at 3:30 p.m. The team is then scheduled to travel to Collegeville, Pa., to compete against Ursinus College on Thursday, April 13.
Meanwhile, the Lady Lions will take on crosstown rival Rider University at Lawrenceville, N.J., on Tuesday, April 11. The women’s team will then play against New York University at home on Thursday, April 13, at 3 p.m.