As both the men and women’s tennis teams open up this fall, they have high hopes for how their seasons will play out. Both units are looking to build on last year’s experience and take the next step, which they hope would culminate in a MAC Commonwealth championship.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are off to similar starts. The men began the Fall season against Catholic and Frostburg State universities. Although the team lost to a tough Catholic University team 6-3 on Sept. 9, head coach Evan Clifton was encouraged by his players’ effort; “The team played great compared to the effort from last season,” he said.
Sophomore Ray McDermott opened his fall with a 6-2, 6-4 victory at the No.1 singles. There also was an impressive performance from senior Wornden Ly, who dropped the first set of his singles match, rallied to take the next two sets convincingly 6-3, 6-2. However, neither of these efforts was enough for an overall team victory.
The team then had a quick turnaround as they opened up home play against Frostburg State University the following day. The team dominated Frostburg from the start, walking away with a big 8-1 victory. Ly opened the day up with an 8-5 win at the No. 1 doubles with McDermott. Later that day, Ly commanded his No. 2 singles match with a 6-0, 6-1 score.
“This was a great step forward as we prepare for our upcoming tournament,” said Clifton. The men’s team will next travel to the three-day ITA Regional tournament, hosted by the University of Mary Washington on Sept. 29 with an opportunity to grab wins against nationally ranked opponents.
The women also opened up their season against Catholic University, suffering a fate similar to the men. The women battled but lost in a hard-fought match 7-2 at the Greenspring tennis courts. Juniors Kirstyn Davidson and Christina Endy picked up the first wins for the Mustangs in an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles, although they both dropped their respective singles matches.
After a few days to regroup, the team was back in action as they welcomed Franciscan University (Oh.) to the Greenspring campus. The Barons walked off the courts with a convincing 8-1 win. The lone bright spot for the Mustangs was Sophomore Kelsi Mentzer, who won her seventh career individual match 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
After a few days off, the women headed to the ITA Regional Tournament at Mary Washington with hopes of turning their season around. To open the tournament, the Mustangs faced nationally ranked Johns Hopkins University. Strong showings from Mentzer and sophomore Jenna Skove at No. 1 doubles ultimately ended in defeat, but Clifton was happy with the performance, given the nationally ranked power of Hopkins.
Both teams will open MAC conference play in October with the MAC individual tournament hosted by King’s College. This will be the final event for the fall season before the teams break and begin to prepare for their spring seasons.