The College’s men’s tennis team, ranked No. 8 regionally, suffered a heartbreaking loss to No. 7 University of Rochester last Sunday.
With a score of 5-2, the Lions were only two sets short of receiving their ticket to Regionals and Nationals. They finished their season 11-3.
“We’re all just so disappointed because we worked so hard and as much as I wanted it, I wanted it for them more,” head coach Scott Dicheck said. “They really deserved it because they’re such a close team and this is going to be so hard to get over.”
The Lions started off strong to take two out of the three doubles matches for the point. There was intense play throughout the doubles ladder and excitement and cheers erupted after each individual point was won.
In first doubles, sophomore co-captain Ryan Carty and sophomore Corey Ball fought back and forth with freshmen Eric Hansen and Thanos Kanterelis of Rochester. Ball and Carty are ranked No. 2 regionally in doubles, while Hansen and Kanterelis are ranked No. 9.
After holding a tight 5-4 lead, Carty and Ball tore away to win the match 8-4.
Senior Ken Tsui and freshman Eric Ferriere also collected a win at third doubles against sophomore Michael Lee and senior Partha Bhattacharya 8-4.
“All week, Eric and I were playing well in practice, gaining confidence as time went on,” Tsui said. “Our whole team was very excited for this match so we went into it so pumped up, and we just rode our emotions through the whole match. I was extremely happy to see the both of us play so well in the match, and I think it was the best match I ever played in my life.”
After taking the doubles point, it seemed that nerves got to a few of the Lions’ players. Carty was the only player to receive a singles win for the day.
In a tight first singles match, spectators were astonished at the play of his opponent, senior Avinash Reddy, who had multiple drop shots that Carty simply couldn’t get to. However, Carty dug deep to prevail 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 in the three-set, 44-game match.
The Lions faced two other three-set matches along with one other tiebreaker but came up short in each one.
“I knew we would be a better team this year but I had no clue we would be this good because we made such an amazing transition in only one year,” Dicheck said. “Our entire starting singles lineup only has one to two years of college experience and they’ve had so much success because they continued to improve as the year went on and we all got caught up in the excitement. Every match was a highlight because we had so much energy and intensity that led to big wins and upsets. They played incredible everyday.”
In women’s tennis, the Lions dominated in their last match of the season, shutting out the Yellowjackets 9-0.
In first doubles, freshman Christina Contrafatto and junior captain Jackie Gavornik overcame freshmen Colleen Cross and Shivani Kumar 9-8 in an energetic match.
The first doubles match was as close as Rochester got all day.
In second doubles, senior Katie D’Amato and sophomore Kristen Turturiello defeated freshman Alexa Perry and junior Tessa Baker 8-4.
Sophomores Karen Shih and Ayumi Yamazaki then overpowered junior Jaymi Della and freshman Vera Yakovchenko 8-2, in third doubles.
“It was awesome to end our season on a win because we’ve all been playing our best lately,” D’Amato said. “It just brought the whole end of the season together real well and to have our last few matches be good wins was great.”
In singles play, the Lions only had one set within two games. The rest were won by at least four.
Contrafatto began the domination at first singles by beating Cross 6-4, 6-1. Turturiello followed by trouncing Kumar 6-2, 6-1.
In third singles, Yamazaki bested Della 6-1, 6-0, while D’Amato crushed Perry 6-1, 6-0 in fourth singles. In fifth singles, Gavornik clobbered Baker, 6-0, 6-1, and Shih completed the shutout win by defeating Yakovchenko 6-2, 6-0.
The women ended their season with an overall 14-3 record and 6-0 record in NJAC to take the championship.
“The women had a great season because they met so many goals,” Dicheck said. “They dominated the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) by not dropping a single set in conference play and they ended very strong, especially beating Skidmore College 9-0. It was a surprise ending accomplishment.”