Women’s tennis finishes third in ECAC, men drop two matches

by Mark Cui | 2/9/16 6:15pm

Over the weekend, the No. 32 Dartmouth women’s tennis team hosted the ECAC Winter Championship, which consisted of all the Ivy League teams except the University of Pennsylvania. The team finished third, falling in a close battle to No. 58 Columbia University 4-3 before defeating No. 54 Brown University 4-3. On the road, the No. 34 men’s team was unable to replicate last week’s amazing victories, falling to both No. 32 North Carolina State University 5-2 and No. 61 Old Dominion University 4-3.

“It was a great experience,” women’s head coach Bob Dallis said. “The atmosphere overall was great. There was a fair amount of pressure since it was all Ivy League teams, and we know each other pretty well. It was a good test and barometer of where we are as a team.”

On Feb. 7, the women’s team fell in a tough match against Columbia 4-3, going 1-2 in doubles and 3-3 in singles. For the first time in the young season, the Big Green was unable to secure the doubles point, with the No. 34 team of Taylor Ng ’17 and Kristina Mathis ’18 securing the lone doubles win, 6-4, over Columbia’s Rima Asatrian and Alexandra Solovyev. The Dartmouth duo of Katherine Yau ’16 and Julia Schroeder ’18 fell in a closely fought compeition 4-6 to Kanika Vaidya and Adi Milstein while the third tandem of Julienne Keong ’16 and Jacqueline Crawford ’17 fell 6-1 to Star Makarome and Andrea Kevakian.

The three singles victories all came in straight sets, with Yau, Mathis, and Allison Chuang ’19 winning with respective scores of 6-4, 6-1; 6-0, 6-2 and 6-4, 6-4.

However, Ng was defeated by Vaidya 4-6, 1-6 and Crawford lost in a close 5-7, 4-6 match to Solovyev. The final point between Schroeder and Kevakian was delayed due to a Hanover-wide power outage on Saturday night. Schroeder and Kevakian picked up the match on Sunday morning with the teams tied 3-3. After taking the first set 7-6, Schroeder dropped the final two sets 2-6 and 4-6, giving the fourth seeded Lions the victory.

“Columbia in the semifinals was an extremely close match,” Mathis said. “Props to Julia Schroeder for being in that three-all situation. Even after the power outage Saturday night, she came out and played her hardest, and eventually fell.”

Mathis noted that it was impressive that the team could bounce back from the morning loss with a 4-3 victory over Brown, finishing 2-1 in doubles and 3-3 in singles. Although Yau and Schroeder fell 4-6, the two duos of Ng and Mathis and Keong and Crawford secured the doubles point with respective 6-4 and 6-2 scores.

In a role reversal of the previous night, Dartmouth’s three singles victories were enough to give the team the match. Despite Crawford, Yau and Ng’s losses to tough Brown opponents, the team still won, as Mathis, Schroeder and Chuang all emerged victorious with respective scores of 7-5, 6-2; 6-3, 7-5 and 6-1, 6-0. Mathis was the only Big Green player to win every match in which she played, taking both doubles wins with partner Ng and straight set victories at the No. 3 position in singles, outscoring her singles foes 25-9.

Both the loss and victory were extremely close, providing a valuable experience for the team in high-pressure situations, Dallis said.

“It is important to know what you want to do in those key situations: how you personally play, how you want to look,” Dallis said. “That way things become really automatic so that you are not really doubting yourself as you get into those critical junctures.”

After the ECAC Championship, the team’s overall record stands at 2-2. On Feb. 13 and 14, the team will next travel to Boston College and Boston University.

On the men’s side the team played its first road matches of the year, falling to NC State and Old Dominion. The men’s head coach Chris Drake said that playing on the road against two strong teams “presented challenging environment.” He noted that a a four court facility changed up the orders, with the fifth and sixth singles matches waiting to play until after all the rest had finished.

On Feb. 5, the men’s team fell to NC State 5-2, going 3-0 in doubles but 1-5 in singles. The team’s three tandems of Dovydas Sakinis ’16 and Roko Glasnovic ’19, George Wall ’17 and Brendan Tannenbaum ’16 and Max Fliegner ’18 and Max Schmidt ’17 dominated doubles for the Big Green’s first point, finishing with lopsided respective scores of 6-1, 6-3 and 6-3.

Singles was unable to follow up, with Wall securing the lone singles win 7-5, 7-5 over NC State’s Shoti Meparidze. No. 18 Sakinis, Ciro Riccardi ’18, Tannenbaum, Fliegner and Schmidt were defeated, with the closest matches coming at the hands of Tannenbaum and Schmidt, who lost 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (2-7) and 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 1-0 (10-5) respectively.On Feb. 7, the team played another ranked team, Old Dominion, falling 4-3 while going 2-0 in doubles and 2-4 in singles. Like Saturday’s match, the Big Green got off to a hot start, with Sakinis and Glasnovic winning 6-3 and Schmidt and Fliegner claiming a 6-0 bagel. The third doubles match with the Dartmouth duo of Tannenbaum and Wall was suspended after the Big Green had already secured the doubles point. On the singles side, Old Dominion’s Adam Moundir upset Sakinis 6-4, 6-4. Riccardi and Wall also fell with scores of 1-6, 3-6, and 1-6, 2-6. Following that, Tannenbaum lost in another very tense match, 7-5, 5-7, 3-6 to Old Dominion’s Aziz Kijametovic. The Big Green’s Fliegner and Schmidt were able to claim the team’s only two single wins of the day, winning 6-2, 7-5 and 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

In both matches, the doubles was able to secure the first point, but singles was unable to follow suit.

“The [doubles] teams had great chemistry and execution,” Drake said. “For singles, we’ve just got to keep at it. I think we’ve got guys that can play better and they’re working hard to try to do that.”

Despite the two losses, the team retained a confident mindset going into next week’s games.

“We try not to get too down after the wins and the losses,” Drake said. “We had a great weekend at home and then a tough weekend on the road. A lot of these matches come down to a few points here and there. We are just going to get back to working and hope to improve our play individually and collectively as a team.”

From Feb. 12 to 14, the men’s team will play at the ECAC Championship in Philadelphia, which will include the rest of the Ivy League.