Section: Sports

Lords lose in NCAC title match, Ladies fall to Denison 5-4

Lords lose in NCAC title match, Ladies fall to Denison 5-4

The Lords finished second in the NCAC tournament. | COURTESY OF MARTY FULLER

Lords 

The Lords tennis team reached the final of the NCAC Tournament last weekend. Despite their initial success and a number of strong performances, the Lords ultimately lost 5-3 against Denison University in the title match.

In their first round matchup against Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), the Lords won by a score of 5-0. At the No. 3 doubles, the Lords started off the day with an 8-0 win by Thomas Kallarakal ’23 and Rishil Kondapaneni ’25. In the No. 2 doubles, Luis Andres Platas ’23 and Eric Zhang ’25 won by the same score. The No. 1 doubles match was more competitive, as Christophe Leblanc ’25 and Christian Picot ’25 won 8-3. With Leblanc’s 6-0, 6-0 win at the No. 6 singles and Jacob Smith’s ’23 victory, the Lords sealed their win against OWU to advance to the semifinals, where they took on DePauw University.

All three doubles matches against DePauw came down to the wire, marking the start of an exciting semifinal matchup. To start off the day, Kenyon’s No. 3 doubles team of Leblanc and Henry Wessel ’22 won 8-6. In the No. 1 doubles, DePauw responded by narrowly winning against Platas and Zhang 8-7. In the No. 2 doubles, the Lords regained the overall lead with Kallarakal and Kondapaneni’s 8-7 (7-1) victory.

At the No. 6 singles, Wessel cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory. Kallarakal fell 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 3 singles. Rakkan Audeh ’25 won his No. 5 match 6-4, 6-1, bringing Kenyon within one victory of the conference championship game. Zhang clinched the win for the Lords, winning the No. 4 singles 6-3, 7-5, and earning Kenyon a place in the NCAC Championship match against their rival No. 13 Denison. 

Against the Big Red, the first doubles team of Picot and Leblanc fell 8-2. At the No. 3 doubles, Kondapaneni and Kallarakal lost 8-3. In the last doubles match, the Lords cut Denison’s lead in half, as Platas and Zhang won 8-5.

In the No. 1 singles, Platas fell 6-3, 6-4. At the No. 5 singles, Audeh came back from a difficult first set, winning 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the No. 5 singles match. Kondapaneni followed with a win at the No. 2 singles, as he won 6-0, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, evening the overall score at 3-3. In short succession, Kallarakal fell in the No. 3 singles, 7-6 (7-0), 4-6, 2-6, and at the No. 4 singles Zhang fell 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (5-7), allowing Denison to clinch the NCAC title. Though Wessel led in the third set of the No. 6 singles, officials suspended the match as the Big Red had clinched the victory.

The Lords will await their fate in the upcoming Division III NCAA Tournament, as they pursue an at-large bid.

 

Ladies

The Ladies tennis team played their last game of the regular season against NCAC rival Denison University last weekend. In a match that came down to the final set, Denison edged out Kenyon by a score of 5-4.

Kenyon’s No. 2 doubles team of Anna Winslow ’22 and Erika Pontillo ’23 won 8-6. Daria Beshentseva ’22 and Eleni Dakos ’23 were victorious by the same score, giving the Ladies an early 2-0 lead. In the No. 3 doubles, Catriona MacIntosh ’23 and Lalasa Nagireddy ’25 narrowly fell 7-8 (5-7). 

In the No. 2 singles, Dakos lost 6-4, 6-1. This was quickly followed by Nagireddy’s 6-1, 6-1 defeat in the No. 3 singles. At the No. 1 singles, Beshentseva reversed Denison’s momentum with a 7-5, 6-2 win, and Natalie Connelly ’25 won 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) in the No. 6 match, giving the Ladies a 4-3 lead. In the No. 4 singles, Winslow lost after a close second set, 3-6, 6-7 (5-7), meaning the final match at the No. 5 singles would be decisive. While MacIntosh won the first set, she eventually lost 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, leaving the Ladies just short of a win against their key rival.

The Ladies will return to the court on Friday to compete in the NCAC tournament, when they face Ohio Wesleyan University in the first round at home.

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