Tennis teams see mixed results

by Chanelle Qi | 1/27/15 6:01pm

01.28.15.sports.mens-tennis_Gabrielle-Kirlew
The men’s tennis team beat Denver, but lost a tight 4-3 match to Indiana.
Source: GABRIELLE KIRLEW/THE DARTMOUTH

The No. 46 Dartmouth men’s tennis experienced mixed results over the weekend, winning against the No. 66 University of Denver with a score of 5-2 before narrowly falling to No. 64 Indiana University, 4-3. The No. 63 women’s tennis team continued its hot start to the season, triumphing 5-2 over Brown University and 4-3 over Mississippi State University.

The men’s started off match play against Denver with a strong performance in doubles. The duo of Diego Pedraza ’17 and Ciro Riccardi ’18 brought home the first win of the day with a 6-2 victory. After Dartmouth lost at No. 2 doubles, Chris Kipouras ’15 and Dovydas Sakinis ’16, the 22nd ranked doubles pair in the nation, secured the doubles point for the Big Green, coming off the court with a 7-5 win at No. 1.

In singles, Max Fliegner ’18 and Brendan Tannenbaum ’16 brought in two victories for Dartmouth, with respective scores of 6-1, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-4. Denver responded to the victories with two wins over Dartmouth, resulting in an overall team score of 3-2. No. 1 Sakinis ultimately clinched the win for the men’s team, coming back from a second set loss for a score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Against Indiana, Sakinis and Kipouras picked up another victory at No. 1 doubles, winning their match 6-3. The men proceeded to drop their No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matches, however, entering singles play trailing 0-1.

Kipouras followed up his doubles win with the first singles win of the day, finishing the match 6-2, 7-6. After Kipouras came off the court, Indiana took control of the match with straight-set wins at No. 3 and No. 5 singles for an overall match lead of 3-1, needing just one more point to clinch.

“We knew going in that Indiana was going to be very tough,” Sakinis said. “We didn’t start well in our match against Indiana, so we’re going to try to improve upon that for our next matches.”

With its back against the wall, the Big Green clawed back into the match. Sakinis grinded out a tough three-set win at No. 1, and Fliegner fought back after dropping his first set to get a key victory at No. 6, bringing the match even at 3-3.

All eyes turned toward Brendan Tannenbaum at No. 4 singles, the last man standing on the courts and the final match that would determine if Dartmouth would emerge victorious. The slimmest of margins separated Tannenbaum from his Indiana opponent. After dropping his first set, Tannenbaum fought back to take the second in a tiebreaker. The three-set match ended in a crushing tiebreaker in the third set for a score of 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6), giving Indiana the match win.

“Our schedule is only going to get harder this season, with us playing higher ranked teams,” Sakinis said.

The Dartmouth women’s team battled Brown on Saturday. Taylor Ng ’17 and Kristina Mathis ’18 started the day off strong with a 6-1 victory at No. 1 doubles. At No. 3 doubles, Julia Schroeder ’18 and Julienne Keong ’16 followed up with a 6-4 win, giving Dartmouth a 1-0 lead over Brown.

In singles, Ng was the first off the court with a win at No. 1. Ng’s consistency and smart ball placement were key in her 6-1, 6-1 win over Brown’s Alyza Benotto.

The five remaining singles matches all went to third sets. After dropping the first set, Akiko Okuda ’15 fought back and the won the next two for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory. Jacqueline Crawford ’17 also overcame a first-set loss to win 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Schroeder dug deep for Dartmouth’s closest win of the day, clinching the match for the Big Green in the process. Schroeder showcased remarkable endurance in her match against Brown’s Maddie Stearns. After handily winning the first set 6-2, Schroeder dropped the second set in a tiebreaker. The deciding third set was also forced to a tiebreaker, but Schroeder managed to pull it out, winning 6-2, 6-7, 7-6.

“I was told by our coach to just stay focused on the present, and not to think about how I played in the past or whether my match would be a deciding point for the team,” Schroeder said.

In their competition against Mississippi State, the Big Green women came out of doubles play trailing 0-1, with No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams losing their matches. The women quickly turned things around, pulling ahead of Mississippi State through executing strong singles play. Ng and Mathis won their matches with the respective scores of 6-3, 6-2 and 6-4, 6-0.

Katherine Yau ’16 won a three set match 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 after dropping her second. Okuda also dropped her second set, but was able to cement the victory for Dartmouth in her three set match, winning 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-2.

“As a senior, I’ve noticed that our team has gone into matches with more confidence in recent years. We have more of this challenger attitude, of always wanting to do better,” Okuda said.

The women face off against Boston University and Miami University at home next weekend, while the men travel to play against the University of Minnesota and Drake University.