Men’s and women’s tennis players receive Ivy League honors

by Chanelle Qi | 5/5/15 4:58pm

Players on both the men’s and women’s tennis teams received a number of major accolades over the past week. The teams saw players placed on the first and second 2015 All-Ivy teams, and some also clinched Ivy League Player of the Year and Ivy League Rookie of the Year awards.

Taylor Ng ’17 and Kristina Mathis ’18 were named to the first All-Ivy team for doubles. The nationally-ranked duo of Ng and Mathis won 15 of the 19 doubles matches they played together in the 2014-2015 season. In Ivy League competition, the pair’s only loss came from a match with Princeton University in April.

Both Ng and Mathis stated that the balanced team dynamic between the doubles partners has been invaluable to their success.

“We complement each other very well in different aspects,” Ng said. “In terms of our games, [Mathis] is very consistent, which is great. She’s solid from baseline, sees court extremely well and knows what she wants to do with the ball.”

Ng also said that their compatible personalities led to good balance on the court.

“Personality-wise, both of us don’t show that much negativity on the court. She’s very quiet, but confident. I’m a lot more vocal. It’s a good balance because when I can feel myself getting overexcited, she’s there to help me tone it down,” Ng said. “Sometimes when she needs a little energy, I’m there to pump her up.”

Mathis agreed, also commenting on the importance of trust in doubles teams.

“In the beginning, [Ng] was there to guide me through our first doubles matches, and it really built up trust,” Mathis said. “We understand each other, and I think it’s a really good relationship to have with your partner.”

Mathis’ selection to the first-team All-Ivy doubles is especially notable considering that she is a freshman.

“It’s definitely a big shock for me,” Mathis said. “I’m really happy, since I had very little experience in doubles prior to coming to college. Everybody’s helped me so much.”

In addition to her first-team doubles spot, Ng automatically earned a spot on the first team for singles. Ng was previously selected to the second singles team her freshman year. Even more impressive, Ng was also unanimously named the 2015 Ivy League Player of the Year. She is the first Big Green player to be named Player of the Year since 1999.

Ng automatically qualifies for the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship as the Ivy League singles champion. She is the first player from Dartmouth to ever qualify for the singles championship and is also the sole singles qualifier in the Ivy League this year.

“Playing college tennis as part of a team has reinforced why I love tennis,” Ng said. “A few years ago, I would have viewed tennis as a completely individual sport. Being on the court with everyone on the team supporting each other brings me a lot of pride.”

Ng was undefeated in singles this conference season, playing at the No. 1 position. During the spring singles season, Ng won 42 out of the 46 sets she played as well as 22 out of the overall 23 matches.

For the men’s team, three individuals were recognized. Dovydas Sakinis ’16 was named Ivy League Player of the Year and selected to the first team for singles and doubles. Sakinis is the third male player from Dartmouth to be named Player of the Year and the first in over two decades. Nationally ranked, Sakinis played at the No. 1 position for singles. Sakinis was previously awarded Rookie of the Year as a sophomore, and was the first from Dartmouth.

“Getting Player of the Year was one of my goals this year, and I’m really happy I was able to play my best tennis,” Sakinis said.

Sakinis went 6-1 in Ivy League singles competition this season, and has consistently played at the No. 1 position in both singles and doubles.

“It makes me feel better that the team trusts me to be at the top spots, and it’s more motivation to practice,” he said. “It pushes me to work more every day.”

In addition to his All-Ivy recognition, Sakinis also qualified for the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship.

Ciro Riccardi ’18 was named Rookie of the Year, joining Sakinis as the only two Dartmouth players in history to be given that title. Riccardi played at No. 3 singles for the men’s team and went 4-3 in Ivy League play.

Chris Kipouras ’15 was placed in the second team for singles and doubles. Kipouras regularly played at No. 2 singles for the spring season with an overall score of 14-8. Kipouras was previously recognized his junior year as part of the All-Ivy men’s second-team singles list.

The women’s team will enter NCAA competition on May 9 against No. 51 College of William and Mary.