By Alex Pjinowski
Last weekend, the Lords tennis team continued to prove why it is ranked second in the nation, while the Ladies continued their strong season. On Friday, April 5, at the Ohio-Michigan Tennis Challenge in Holland, Mich., the womens team took down Hope College 5-4 and Albion College 5-2. On Monday, the Ladies blanked Ohio Wesleyan University 9-0.
Many impressive performances powered the Ladies three-game win streak. Amy Schlessman 13 had one of the strongest showings. She won all of her matches at No. 1 singles, as well as all of her No. 1 doubles matches with partner Taylor Diffley 16.
The only way I could get through my last match against Albion was to be extremely tough mentally and pump myself up mentally, Schlessman said. Knowing that we have the team behind us is crucial, and people who are not playing at the moment were always cheering, very supportive on every point. Having that support off the court is also helpful.
The seniors are teaching us a lot, said Lauren Hoffman 16, who won her No. 5 singles match against Hope College 6-4, 7-6. Were going to use that the next four years and grow a lot. [We are] a young team, which is great, because [there is] a lot of room to grow.
Meanwhile in Gambier, the Lords dispatched Case Western Reserve University 6-3. The Lords lone doubles victory came from the No. 3 team of Kevin Ye 13 and Wade Heerboth 15 (9-8), and at the conclusion of doubles play Kenyon was down one match to two.
[Ye and Heerboth have] pretty much won every game, Michael Razumovsky 15 said. Its almost always a guaranteed win from them. Knowing that [the team] can win four or five out of six singles matches gives [them] a lot of confidence.
The Lords then took control in singles, winning five of the six matches that followed. Paul Burgin 13 won at No. 1 singles (6-3, 3-6, 6-3) and Razumovsky won No. 2 singles (6-0, 1-6, 6-1). C.J. Williams 13 shut out John Healey at No. 4 singles (6-0, 6-0), while Jacob Huber 15 scrapped for a No. 6 singles victory (7-6, 6-3). Hubers hard-fought match lasted for two and a half hours.
Kenyon is currently celebrating National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Week, which the Kenyon Athletics website calls an annual celebration introduced in 2010 to sharpen the divisions identity and to enable schools and conferences to more effectively explain why they prefer to compete in Division III. Williams has a unique perspective on the value of Division III athletics: he played tennis for a season at Division I Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Va., before transferring to Kenyon after his freshman year. He said that his coaches at VCU were almost entirely results-driven and considered schoolwork a secondary thing. Meanwhile, a DIII school like Kenyon is balanced between school and athletics, he said. My coaches care about our development, not only as tennis players, but also as well-rounded people.
Burgin also spoke positively of the opportunities offered by DIII. I wanted the feeling to compete for an NCAA title, he said. And I wouldnt have gotten that at a DI school. He added that the national tournament last year, where the Lords finished runner-up, had been the coolest experience you could imagine.
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