By Rohan Ahluwalia
Continuing where they finished last semester, the women’s tennis team began their spring season with two massive victories over Rider University, 8-1, and Swarthmore College, 6-3, while the men’s team suffered its first defeat of the season to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 8-1.
A great week for the women’s side began on Thursday, March 22, defeating Rider University, 8-1, at the Student Recreation Center.
The Lions had a strong start in doubles, winning two out of three matches. Senior Maddy Stoner partnered with junior Grace Minassian to defeat their opposing Rider duo, 8-4. Juniors Alyssa Baldi and Sneha Rangu then worked together to claim an 8-2 win.
In singles competition, the Lions managed to win all their matches in straight sets. Rangu won her match in 6-1 and 6-2 sets while her fellow teammate, Baldi, emerged victorious with 6-1 and 6-0 sets.
Stoner won her match in 6-2 and 6-0 sets while her teammate Minassian beat her opponent with scores of 6-1 and 6-3. Meanwhile, sophomore Audrey Chen narrowly earned a victory over Rider freshman Sydney Jeffrey, 8-7. Finally, senior Brittany Reedman secured the victory for the Lions with 6-1 and 6-2 wins over Rider.
Two days later, the Lions traveled to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania where they took on Swarthmore College. This would prove to be a challenge for the College as Swarthmore is ranked No. 40 nationally, according to the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III women’s national team rankings. However, the Lions managed to claim victory, 6-3.
“We knew it would be a hard match,” head coach Scott Dicheck said. “The ladies stepped up and played extremely well.”
Similar to their previous win, the Lions ended the doubles competition with a 2-1 lead. Rangu and Baldi continued their unbeatable partnership, taking a very close 8-6 victory over senior Rachel Bronkema and junior Arya Jemal. With the victory, Rangu and Baldi now have seven victories with no defeats as a tag team, which impressed their head coach.
“They were down 6-4 and then came back the last four games against a very good team,” Dicheck said. “I was very impressed. They are both experienced players and the two of them have really built really good chemistry as a duo.”
In singles competition, the Lions found it tough against their nationally ranked opponents. Minassian and Stoner suffered defeats in their matches against Swarthmore senior Anna Scheibmeir and sophomore Audrey Haring, respectively. Despite the defeats, the Lions managed to earn four wins and the overall victory.
Dicheck was satisfied with the team’s strong performance.
“It felt like we were in control throughout the match,” Dicheck said. “I felt really good with that performance.”
Unfortunately, the men’s tennis team could not replicate the women’s effort as the team endured its first defeat of the season against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Sunday, March 25, at the Recreation Center. RPI is currently ranked No. 27 in the nation according to Oracle/ITA Division III men’s national team rankings.
The Lions started well at the doubles competition. Juniors Omar Bokhari and Tim Gavornik earned a 8-7 victory against RPI freshman Clay Thompson and Brian Niguidula. From then on, the Lions couldn’t earn a single victory.
The Lions lost two doubles matches before being swept in all six singles matchups. The team put up a good fight as Gavornik, along with junior Matt Puig and senior Chris D’Agostino managed to take a set in each of their matches.
With the defeat, the men’s tennis team improve to a 3-1 record while the women’s team maintains a 2-0 record.
Both the men’s and women’s teams go on the road to take on Haverford College on Wednesday, March 28. They then return to the outdoor courts to compete against Wilkes University on Thursday, March 29.