Section: Sports

Lords tennis defeated 4-5 in spring opener, Ladies win 5-4

Lords

This past weekend, the Lords were defeated by the University of Northwestern Ohio, ranked fifth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) polls. Kenyon entered the Saturday match ranked 25 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). A tight competition left Northwestern Ohio with a close 5-4 win over Kenyon.

A tough start in doubles play put the Lords down 0-3 early as they headed into singles play. Kenyon quickly bounced back with successful matches in singles competition, starting with senior Weston Noall, who earned a 6-1, 6-3 win at the No. 6 match.

Jacob Zalenski ’20 followed Noall with a 6-2, 6-2 win at the No. 2 match for the Lords. Kenyon was close to Northwestern Ohio at 2-3 before the close No. 5 and No. 1 matches gave the Racers a 5-2 win. Nicholas Paolucci ’19  won his first set at 6-3 for the No. 1 match but lost the next two sets to competitor Radu Popa.

Nonetheless, the Lords pushed on as No. 3 Austin Diehl ’20 won 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). Bryan Yoshino ’21 won the final match of the day 7-6 (8-6), 2-6, 6-4, improving the Lords’ score to 4.

“I think the Lords’ overall performance last week was great,” Yoshino said. “Although we lost 5-4, everyone fought hard and got rowdy in support of each other. The team’s overall energy was incredible.”

The Lords are looking forward to an exciting season ahead. “This weekend we have three tough opponents, and if we manage to come out on top against them, it will definitely give us the confidence to be the best we can be for the rest of the season,” Yoshino said.

Kenyon’s next competition will be against Kalamazoo College this Saturday in the Jasper Tennis Center at 8 a.m. Later in the day, they will take on the University of Mary Washington at 6:30 p.m. and then play Sewanee: University of the South on Sunday at 8 a.m.

Ladies

The Ladies started off their spring season strong with a victory over the University of Northwestern Ohio this weekend, ranked No. 12 in the the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and No. 30 in Division III National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Kenyon successfully beat out its opponents 5-4 in a close match. This is only the second win against Northwestern Ohio in five matches since 2013.

“We all went into this weekend very focused,” Maggie Sweeney ’19 said. “We had two good weeks of practice, and we, especially the upperclassmen, wanted to beat this team since we haven’t beaten them in a few years.”

Two early losses in doubles put the Ladies behind with a total team score of 2-1. Sweeney and Grace Winslow ’18 held the only doubles win for Kenyon with a match score of 8-2.

The singles competition featured a fierce comeback for the Ladies. Erika Oku ’21 and Diana Aboubakare  ’18 turned the tables for Kenyon, giving them a lead of 3-2. Oku and Aboubakare won their matches with 6-1, 6-3 and 6-4, 6-4 wins, respectively. 

The competition was tied up again as the Ladies lost two of the three matches and Sweeney clinched a No 3. win against Melena Lopez, 6-2, 7-6. Now tied at No. 4, the results of Saturday’s competition were decided by the No. 6, Annie Reiner ’19.

Reiner faced Frederique Span to win her first set at 6-4, but Span claimed the second set 6-3. Reiner would secure a Ladies’ victory with a 6-4 win in the third set.

“The win this weekend gives us good momentum,” Sweeney said. “I’m excited to be a part of a team with so much potential.”

The Ladies are returning from an incredible spring season last year when they qualified for NCAA tournament and won the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament Championship title for the first time since 2001. With experienced upperclass students and a promising first-year class of five, Kenyon is looking at an exciting season ahead.

Kenyon will play Kalamazoo College this Saturday in the Kenyon Athletic Center at 11:30 a.m.

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