Despite the snow on the ground, the Dartmouth men's and women's tennis teams have both kicked off their spring seasons with January matches. The men's (0-2) and women's (1-1) teams have both competed in two contests so far.
The Big Green men began with the Dartmouth Kickoff Classic, hosting matches against Clemson University this past Friday and Purdue University on Saturday at the Boss Tennis Center. Dartmouth and its opponents agreed ahead of time to call off any matches still in progress once one side secured a victory.
"We opened this year with two very good teams and both were from very strong conferences, so these were two good tests to see where we are," Alexander Centenari '13 said. "Both matches were close, particularly Purdue, and we gained a lot of good experience, especially for some of the younger guys."
In its first match of the spring season, the Dartmouth men lost 4-0 to Clemson. On the doubles side, Cameron Ghorbani '14 and Brendan Tannenbaum '16 dropped their match 2-8 to the Tigers (5-0) at the number one spot. Alexander De Chatellus '13 and Erik Nordahl '16 fell 6-8 to their opponents at the number two spot, clinching the doubles point for Clemson. At the number three spot, team captain Centenari and Brandon Debot '14 were leading their opponents 7-6 when the match was called.
In singles competition, Centenari dropped his match 2-6, 3-6 at the number one spot, while teammates Christopher Kipouras '15 and Nordahl also fell to their opponents in straight sets at the three and four spots respectively. When the matches were abandoned, Ghorbani and Justin Chan '16 were both defeating their Clemson challengers.
"This weekend was a really good learning experience in terms of seeing how to deal with all the different things that can come up during a dual match, and also showed us the level we'll have to compete at to beat good teams like them this season," DeBot said. "I think we showed that we can compete at this level but definitely have some work to do to come out on top in matches like these later on."
In their second match of the season, the Big Green men lost a heartbreaking match 3-4 to Purdue (7-0, 0-0 Big Ten). In doubles competition, Centenari and DeBot won their match 8-2 at the number three spot. Tannenbaum and Ghorbani and De Chatellus and Nordahl dropped their matches at the first and second spots to put the Boilermakers ahead 1-0.
In singles play, Centenari won in the second spot in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. Kipouras and Chan also won in straight sets in the number three and six spots, respectively. While securing three points in singles, the Big Green could not pull out a win against the Boilermakers.
Centenari said that the team will learn from these losses and move forward.
"Losses are always tough, but are often the best ways to figure out some glaring weaknesses," Centenari said. "Everyone has things they can improve on, and we are ready to train hard and smart this week to get ready for next weekend." The Dartmouth women's tennis team also had a setback to start the season, dropping its opening match of the spring season 2-5 against Boston College on Jan. 19 in Hanover. The Eagles (2-0) swept the doubles matches, putting Boston up 1-0. The Big Green, however, won two matches in singles competition. Janet Liu '15 bested her opponent in the number one spot when she was forced to retire because of an injury. Akiko Okuda '15, competing at the number three spot, scored Dartmouth's other point of the day, defeating her opponent in a third set super-breaker 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8).
The Big Green women bounced back from their loss against the Eagles with a decisive 7-0 win against Binghamton University at home on Saturday. Melissa Matsuoka '14 and Sarah Bessen '16, as well as Suzy Tan '16 and Julienne Keong Si Ying '16 both cruised to 8-1 victories in the number two and three spots, respectively. In the number one spot, Okuda and Katherine Yau '16 bested their opponents 8-4.
"Our matches against Binghamton and BC were really valuable," women's captain Sarah Leonard '13 said. "BC is a very good team, and it was good for us to start our season with solid competition."
In singles action, Ying made quick work of her opponent, winning 6-0, 6-0 at number six. Yau, Liu, Okuda, Matsuoka and Tan all coasted to victories winning in straight sets.
"We will continue to work on improving our doubles play, court positioning and movement," Leonard said. "I'm excited for us to continue improving and to showcase our talents against really good competition as we move forward."
Both teams will be back in action on Friday. The men will host Old Dominion University at 2 p.m. while the women will take on the University of Wisconsin at 6 p.m. in Boss.