Tennis teams dominate Minnesota, UMass in final winter games

by Mark Cui | 2/23/16 7:02pm

On Feb. 19, the then No. 40, now No. 38 Dartmouth men’s tennis team followed up its two victories over Brown University and St. John’s University last week to win its third consecutive match, defeating the then No. 45, now unranked University of Minnesota 5-2 at the Boss Tennis Center. Over the past weekend, the then No. 41, now No. 31 Dartmouth women’s team dominated its two opponents, defeating the then No. 58, now No. 56 Minnesota Gophers 7-0 and the University of Massachusetts 6-1. The win against UMass was the team’s fifth consecutive victory, improving the team’s overall record to 6-2. In the season, the team has also won an astounding seven out of eight of its double points, propelling the team to consistently start out with an early lead.

“We had set high goals for this current season,” Jacqueline Crawford ’17 said. “It’s great that we’re on a five game win streak. [Our success in doubles] means that we won at least two out of three doubles matches to clinch the first point, making a big difference in matches. One of our goals was to win all of them throughout this season, so that’s something that we will continue to try to do going forward.”

The two most recent wins came against strong opponents, yet the Big Green was able to dominate the field 7-0 and 6-1 and rose 10 places in the national rankings.

“Those were two of the quickest matches I’ve played in college tennis, which is a testament to how we’ve grown as a team and developed in the past winter season,” Crawford said. “I think it’s the best everyone has played individually all year. It was a really great way to end the winter season.”

On Saturday afternoon, the team first defeated Minnesota at home, going 3-0 in doubles and 6-0 in singles. The team continued to establish its strong doubles play, with all three duos of No. 7 Taylor Ng ’17 and Kristina Mathis ’18, Katherine Yau ’16 and Julia Schroeder ’18, and Crawford and Julienne Keong ’16 securing victories with final respective scores of 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4. The singles built off the stellar play of the doubles, easily sweeping Minnesota, with all six victories coming in straight sets. Yau and Schroeder each took a set without allowing the opponent to score a single point.

On Sunday, the Big Green built off the sweep of Minnesota by defeating UMass 6-1. The team once again jumped off to a blazing start, winning all three doubles matches in lopsided fashion to take the doubles point. The tandems of Ng and Mathis, and Yau and Schroeder both bageled their opponents, while Suzy Tan ’16 and Lexxi Kiven ’18 only gave up a breadstick to their adversaries.

“It was fantastic that there was a moment in which all doubles matches were at 4-0 in the first set,” Crawford said.

After undergoing hip surgery in the fall, Kiven made her debut in the lineup.

“[Kiven] and her partner, a senior, started just as fast as everyone else,” Crawford said. “To see her come out that strong in that first match after struggling with injuries, and especially knowing how tough that first match usually is, was fantastic.”

Despite the final singles score of 5-1, many of the matches were very competitive and hard-fought. Ng and Chuang both won in a tiebreaker, with respective scores of 1-6, 6-3, 10-6, and 6-2, 3-6, 10-6. Mathis, Crawford and Schroeder rounded out the scoring with straight set victories. In the second singles spot, Yau lost in a tough battle against UMass’ Ana Yrazusta 1-6, 6-7.

In both matches, the team was able to jump off to an early lead, and never looked back.

The team will next take a nearly one-month break before traveling to California in a stretch of matches against San Diego State University, the University of California at Irvine and Long Beach State University.

Schroeder said the team will head to the weight room and push itself physically before traveling to California.

“We want to make sure that we are in the best physical shape coming up for Ivy season,” Schroeder said. “I know that each individual has sent in some goals to our coach, and this is a break period in which we really hone in on making sure we are able to reach these goals I also know that we are all making sure we work on doubles. ”

On the men’s side, the Big Green also took down the Gophers.

“I was very happy with the team’s performance,” Eddie Grabill ’19 said of the men’s team’s performance. “Minnesota is a very tough team that beat us last year, so it was huge to get the win.”

On Friday, Dartmouth claimed victory over Minnesota with a solid 5-2 victory, going 1-2 in doubles and 5-1 in singles. While the No. 49 duo of Dovydas Sakinis ’16 and Roko Glasnovic ’19 easily defeated Minnesota’s Marino Alpez and Ruben Weber 6-2, the other two Dartmouth duos of George Wall ’17 and Brendan Tannenbaum ’16, and Max Fliegner ’18 and Max Schmidt ’17 fell with respective final scores of 4-6 and 2-6. Despite the doubles loss, singles stepped up significantly to secure the win. While No. 50 Sakinis lost in an extremely close 6-4, 5-7, 7-10 match, the other five Dartmouth singles players including Ciro Riccardi ’18, Fliegner, Wall, Grabill and Glasnovic all claimed victories, with four of the victories coming in straight sets. Wall’s opponent retired in the early stages of the third set, granting the team the fifth singles win for good measure. Glasnovic, primarily a doubles player, played his first collegiate singles matches for Dartmouth, dominating his opponent Jeremy Lynn 6-2, 6-1.

“I was very proud of the way the team responded after losing the doubles point,” Grabill said. “I was very excited to see Roko come out and dominate in his first collegiate singles match. I was also happy with the other guys, battling through tough Minnesota opponents.”

The team will next host St. John’s and Sacred Heart University on Feb. 27. Entering the stretch with a strong 8-4 record, the team looks forward to the challenge.

“St. John’s and Sacred Heart will both be tough,” Grabill said. “They both have good programs and want a piece of us, so we have to be fully ready to go.”