Ranked 16th in the country across Division-III colleges, Lords tennis improved to 15-4 on the season this week, splitting two matches with a 8-1 win against Oberlin College and a 4-5 loss to No. 9 Carnegie Mellon University.
In the No. 1 doubles slot, Kenyon’s Weston Noall ’18 and Alex Rieger ’18 dismantled their opponents 8-2 to give the Lords their first point of the match. Austin Diehl ’20 and Jacob Zalenski ’20 followed suit with an 8-3 victory over Oberlin’s paring of Manickam Manickam and Michael Drougas.
The Yeomen did manage to sneak in one point at the No. 3 doubles slot with a hard fought 9-8 win.
Kenyon took over in singles competition, solidifying its win by sweeping its Oberlin counterparts and winning all singles matches.
Nicholas Paolucci ’19, Zalenski and Diehl gave Kenyon three points. Each collected two set wins and gave Kenyon the victory. Michael Liu ’18, Bryan Yoshino ’21 and Noall added insurance points for the Lords, as Kenyon ended the match with an 8-1 win.
In their next match, the Lords found themselves down 2-1 early after doubles competition, Kenyon’s only point coming from the pairing of Diehl, Zalenski as they took down their opponents in a tight 8-7 (7-5) match.
The Lords did manage to knot up the score again after the first three singles matches. Despite Zalenski falling 6-2, 6-0 in the first slot, Diehl and Paolucci each came up with big wins to tie up the overall score at 3-3.
With just two more points needed to win the match, the Lords and the Tartans swapped points again at the No. 4 and 5 slots when Michael Liu fell to Carnegie Mellon’s Kailas Shekar, but Noall earned the point back with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 win.
With the score knotted up at four points apiece, the game came down to the No. 5 slot, Yoshino versus Carnegie Mellon’s Robert Levin. After splitting the first two sets 6-3, 1-6, Yoshino fell just short of giving the Lords an upset over the ninth-ranked team in the nation with his close 6-4 final set loss.
The Lords have just one more regular season matchup against North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) opponent Allegheny College on April 22. After the win against Oberlin College, the Lords now tout an astounding 75-game win streak against NCAC opponents in the regular season. This streak has spaned the last 18 years. Including conference tournaments, the Lords have been 122-2 during that same span against NCAC opponents since April of 2000.
“Our record speaks for itself and gives us confidence coming in the tournament,” Max Smith ’18 said. “Yet the reason we have been able to win the NCAC for the past 11 years is that we do not rest on our laurels and challenge ourselves to improve each year. We will continue to respect our opponents to avoid any mishaps and bring back the cup.”
This impressive record should give the Lords confidence for the NCAC tournament that will take place between April 27 and 29.