Tennis looks to rally late in the season

Sophomore Peter Appiah goes up against Alvernia. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

Sophomore Peter Appiah goes up against Alvernia. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

At the start of the spring season, the Mustangs were looking to reign over their competition and aim for the Middle Atlantic Commonwealth Conference playoffs. The men’s team (4-1 in the MAC) has positioned itself well to reach the playoffs since its April 1  7-2 win against Lycoming. The Mustangs are No. 3 in the MAC, with a record of 5-10 overall.

Sophomore Peter Appiah goes up against Alvernia. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

The women’s team (2-3 in the MAC) is on the outside looking in on the MAC playoff picture, but still hope to prevail, according to head coach Evan Clifton.

“Those 5-4 women’s losses to Lycoming and Messiah really hurt us, but there is still time to get in; we just we need to take care of business against Hood College and Arcadia University,” said Clifton.

The men’s team defeated Albright College on April 8, 5-4, and Alvernia University on April 12 by the same score. The Mustangs lost matches to Messiah College (April 5) and Goucher College (April 9) in 9-0 shutouts.

The men’s win against Alvernia was led by sophomore Peter Appiah’s singles match that helped the Mustangs to their third Commonwealth conference victory.

“It feels like the season has just begun because and we’ve been able to form a brotherhood on and off the court,” Appiah said. The sophomore captain added that the new additions this year have driven the team to a higher level of competition since the beginning of the off-season.

The women’s team started off the season 2-3 in out-of-conference matches and has only won two matches since April 8 in a 6-3 victory at Albright College and a dominating win at Hood College 9-0. The women’s team fell to Alvernia in a 7-2 loss on April 13, with freshman Nina Bretz and junior Colleen Martin getting the first win for Stevenson, 8-4, at No. 3 doubles. Bretz also won her No. 6 singles match in straight-sets.

Although the competition this season has tested the Mustangs, they have high hopes for the remainder of the season, motivating one another during practices and games to get back on track. They are currently ranked fifth in the MAC Commonwealth.

“I think the season has been really good. The girls have bonded way more than last year and it has made us close as a group. We also push each other to get better and succeed,” said sophomore captain Kirstyn Davidson.

Both teams hope that their out-of-conference experience has prepared them for the rest of the season, as the competition gets harder. The Mustangs plan to clean up their mistakes in their doubles matches to advance to the post season.

“All of this was for one purpose: to play our conference rivals with the experience of being in really difficult matches where there is a razor-thin margin of error,” Clifton said. The men’s team plays four matches in six days, and the women’s team plays three opponents in six days. The men face Elizabethtown College on April 20 at 4 p.m., and the women’s team faces Arcadia University on April 22 at 2 p.m.