Over the past weeks, the No. 20 Kenyon men’s tennis team dropped a trio of road matches. After losing to No. 2 Case Western Reserve University 7-2, the Owls fell to No. 10 Emory University (Ga.) 7-2 and Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.) 8-1 during the Tiger Den Invitational in Sewanee, Tennessee.
On Feb. 11, Kenyon traveled to Cleveland to face off against Case Western. After falling behind early with a loss in the No. 1 doubles, the Owls evened the score in the No. 2 match, as Eliezer Gonzalez ’26 and Paulo Pocasangre Kreling ’26 picked up an 8-4 win. From then on, the Spartans began to pick up steam, starting with an 8-2 victory in the No. 3 doubles. Facing a 2-1 deficit heading into the singles matches, Kenyon struggled. Eric Zhang ’25 dropped the No. 5 singles match 6-3, 6-1, and Pocasangre Kreling fell 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 4 match. Case Western had the chance to clinch a victory in the No. 1 singles, and, despite a close first set, Luis Andres Platas ’23 lost 6-4, 6-1. The Owls picked up their only other win in the No. 3 singles match, where Rishil Kondapaneni ’25 picked up a 7-5, 5-7, 1-0 victory. Kenyon lost the overall match 7-2.
The Owls then headed south on Feb. 18 and 19 to play in the Tiger Den Invitational, where they opened the competition on the first day against Emory. The Eagles feasted in doubles play, earning a clean sweep of the three matches. The Owls made up some ground in the No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches. Pocasangre Kreling fought through three sets to earn a 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 victory in the No. 5 match, while Rakkan Audeh ’25 picked up a 6-1, 6-3 No. 6 singles win. Unfortunately, the Eagles soared to victory in the rest of the singles matches and earned a 7-2 win.
Kenyon looked to get back on track on Feb. 19 with a match against Sewanee. Unfortunately, the trend of the Owls’ previous match continued against the Tigers. Though Zhang and Platas took their opponents to a tiebreaker in the No. 1 doubles, they fell 8-7 (7-4) as Sewanee swept doubles play. In singles, Audeh continued his success. After dropping his first set, he won the second set and the tiebreaker to come away with a 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-7) win in the No. 5 match. That was the Owls’ only win of the day, as the Tigers took the other five singles matches.
Audeh was proud of his success in Tennessee, where he faced off against favorable opponents in both his singles matches. “In the Emory match, I was a couple years older than my opponent, so I think my experience paid off for me in the bigger moments,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “In the Sewanee match, my opponent started out playing really well, and I think that I just kept being relentless and took my opportunities to get back into the match and ultimately pull it out in the third [set].”
After a two-week layoff, Kenyon will return to play against No. 1 University of Chicago on Saturday. The Owls will then travel to Orlando, Florida, to play against a slate of ranked opponents. Despite Kenyon’s record standing at 1-4, Audeh is confident that the team’s trip to the Sunshine State will help turn the season in a more positive direction. “I really think that this team can make up for our slow start over spring break,” he said. “We have a great opportunity against five nationally ranked D-III opponents, so we have everything to play for in Orlando.”
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