Men’s and women’s tennis teams move up in National rankings
The Washington University men’s and women’s tennis teams hosted their second round of home matches this weekend at the Tao Tennis Center. The two squads went a combined 3-1 on the weekend, as both teams defeated a ranked opponent. The men’s team went head-to-head against the University of Illinois-Springfield, a tough NAIA opponent, and No. 21 Graceland University. The women’s team took on both No. 28 Carthage College and No. 18 Wheaton College during the weekend competition.
On the men’s side, the 17th-ranked Bears handled their opening match-up against the University of Illinois-Springfield with considerable ease, dropping only one singles match overall. Senior Ari Rosenthal cruised to victory (6-3, 6-0) in the No. 1 singles spot, while freshmen Charlie Cutler and Chris Hoeland came out victorious in two and three sets, respectively. Sophomore Charlie Howard came up barely short in No. 4 singles following a third-set tiebreaker, but senior Zach Fayne came out on top (6-0, 6-2) in the fifth spot. Freshman Trevis Bowman rounded out the scoring with a convincing victory in No. 6 singles.
The men’s team’s second opponent was No. 21 Graceland University, who was expected to put up a tougher fight than Illinois-Springfield. Head coach Roger Fullmer changed the line-up slightly before facing Graceland, and his adjustments ended up working in the Bears’ advantage as the team cruised to a 5-2 overall victory. Rosenthal picked up points at No. 1 singles after defeating his opponent in a third-set tiebreaker, and Cutler came out on top once again with a straight-sets victory at the No. 2 spot. Although senior William McMahan and freshman Nirmal Choradia played well in the third and fourth positions, Hoeland and Bowman won their second match of the weekend to solidify the Bears’ victory.
For the women’s team, the match-up against No. 28 Carthage College proved to be difficult in the No. 1 singles and doubles positions, but the rest of the squad was able to pick up the slack en route to a 5-4 overall victory. Junior Erin Fleming was victorious in the No. 2 singles spot (6-3, 6-3), while sophomore Ashley Cook and freshman Ania Tchergueiko also picked up wins in the No. 4 and No. 5 positions, respectively. Sophomore Amy Hsieh rounded out the women’s scoring with a victory (6-2, 6-0) in No. 6 singles. As a doubles team, Cook and Tchergueiko won the Bears’ only doubles match against Carthage, which proved valuable in the end to edge them out for the win.
Against 18th-ranked Wheaton College, the women’s team was not as fortunate as they were swept in all six singles matches. The only points earned by the Bears in the match came, once again, courtesy of the doubles tandem of Cook and Tchergueiko. Perhaps the Bears’ inability to put up a stronger effort against Wheaton was a result of freshman Carrie Preston’s illness, which kept her out of the weekend’s action. Preston, who is both the Bears’ No. 1 singles and doubles player, was missed as the Bears moved to 7-3 overall on the season.
For their performances this weekend, both the men’s and women’s teams moved up in the National ITA Division III Poll. The men jumped to No. 8 in the nation while the women moved up two slots to the 13th ranking.
The men’s team will be back in action this coming Saturday as they play a pair of home matches at Clayton Shaw Park against Coe College and Maryville University. The women’s team will host a pair of matches on Friday and Saturday at the Tao Tennis Center against Drury University and Coe College.
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