Section: Sports

Lords tennis rallies thrice; stays undefeated

Lords tennis rallies thrice; stays undefeated

Jacob Zalenski ’20 returns a ball during a match against Stevens. The Lords won 7-2 behind Zalenski’s two victories. | COURTESY OF KENYON COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Last weekend, the Lords tennis team, ranked at No. 14 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, traveled to Fredericksburg, Va. to compete in the Mary Washington Invitational where they remained undefeated, earning their fourth, fifth and sixth wins of the season. Kenyon has not had this dominant of a start since the 2007-08 season after their victories over No. 23 Sewanee: The University of the South, No. 20 University of Mary Washington and No. 36 Stevens Institute of Technology.

Against Sewanee, Nicholas Paolucci ’19 and Henry Barrett ’19 bested Jack Metzger and Alejandro Becker 8-6 to secure a point in the doubles competition. The other two doubles matches were tight Tigers victories, 8-6 and 9-7. On the singles side, however, the Lords displayed their prowess. Austin Diehl ’20 managed a three-set victory while Jacob Zalenski ’20 made quick work of his opponent, 7-6, 6-2. Bryan Yoshino ’21 and Pascal Lee ’22 also won their matches in straight sets to secure the 5-4 Kenyon win.

Against Mary Washington, the Lords dropped two of three doubles contests, with Zalenski and Lee providing the lone victory. But, as with Sewanee, the Lords created separation in singles play. Paolucci notched another point for the Lords fairly easily with a 6-1, 6-2 victory, while Diehl won in consecutive sets, 7-5, 6-1. The match came down to a winner-take-all singles match between Lee and Ryland Byrd. Lee showed poise in the three-set showdown, defeating Byrd 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3. The win by the first year gave Kenyon its second 5-4 overall victory.

The following day, the Lords took on Stevens and again found themselves in a 2-1 deficit after doubles play. For the second time, Zalenski and Lee accounted for the sole doubles victory, an 8-0 win. Leaning on their prodigious singles play yet again, the Lords were able to sweep Stevens. With all six Lords winning in straight sets, Kenyon walked away with a 7-2 victory.

“Although [there were] some difficulties in doubles, we pulled through in singles to beat three very good, nationally ranked teams including one that beat us last season, Mary Washington,”  Matias Mauviel ’21 said.

Next for the Lords is their spring break trip to Lake Nona, Fla., where they will compete against six non-conference opponents.

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