Over spring break, the men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to Orlando, Florida to compete at the United States Tennis Association National Campus against a host of other teams. Both teams found success against tough opposition.
Before they could travel to the Sunshine State, the men’s tennis team faced the then-No. 1 University of Chicago at a neutral site, where they suffered a tough 2-7 loss.
In Florida four days later, Kenyon played back-to-back matches against Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) (Penn.) and Loyola University Maryland. The Owls fell behind 2-1 early after doubles play against CMU, but Kenyon showed its strength in singles play, going 5-1 to win 6-3 overall. Thomas Kallarakal ’23, Eric Zhang ’25 and Paulo Pocasangre Kreling ’26 all notched victories in straight sets. Against Division I Loyola, Kenyon won two doubles and four singles matchups to win 5-2. Zhang and Luis Andres Platas ’23 won their doubles and singles matches on the day, while Rakkan Audeh ’25 and Jacob Smith ’23 both won their singles matches in straight sets. After a day of rest, the Owls fell against No. 19 North Carolina Wesleyan College and No. 15 Southwestern University (Texas) in another double header. Kenyon lost both matches 5-4 in a tight but ultimately heartbreaking fashion.
The Owls came back with a vengeance four days later and upset No. 16 Wesleyan University (Conn.) before defeating Millsaps College (Miss.) 6-3 in both matches. Despite the scoreline, the Wesleyan match was a neck and neck affair: Five of the six singles matchups went to three sets. However, the Owls stayed cool under pressure and came away with the victory. Platas and Zhang won the No. 1 doubles matchup 8-6 and then won their individual singles matches. Pocasangre Kreling and Audeh also earned close singles victories in the No. 4 and No. 6 matchups. Later that day, the Owls defeated Millsaps by the same 6-3 score. In the last match of the tournament, Kenyon fell 2-7 against No. 2 Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.).
After a strong spring break showing, the Owls will look to continue to improve their 5-8 record when they play next against No. 10 Denison University on Wednesday in Granville, Ohio.
The women’s tennis team began its spring break matches bright and early on March 8, besting Haverford College (Pa.) 6-3. The Owls swept the doubles matchups, which gave Kenyon a crucial three-point cushion going into singles play. There, Leni Lazaridou ’26 and Allaire Berl ’26 handily won the No. 1 and No. 2 matchups 6-1, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively. Finally, Natalie Connelly ’25 closed the day by winning the No. 6 matchup 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).
The next day, the Owls faced No. 11 Carnegie Mellon University and ultimately lost 2-7. Having been swept in doubles play, Lazaridou and Lalasa Nagireddy ’25 provided Kenyon’s two wins of the day.
The Owls returned two days later to play a double header against North Carolina Wesleyan College (NCWU) and Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) (Texas). The Owls were intent to improve after their last performance and they did just that, winning 9-0 and 8-1. In the matchup against NCWU, Kenyon swept doubles play, though all three matchups were close, and in singles play every Owls player won in straight sets. Later, the Owls took on HSU. The Owls swept doubles play again and continued to command the singles courts, picking up straight sets victories in five of the six matches.
On the final day of the competition, the Owls had a tough doubleheader matchup against No. 4 Wesleyan University (Conn.) which they lost 1-8 before ending their spring break trip on a high with a 9-0 demolition of Millsaps College (Miss.).
Against Wesleyan, Kenyon fought hard in doubles and singles play, but the Cardinals repeatedly edged out victories. Nagireddy’s 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7) win gave the Owls their lone point. A few hours later, the Owls emphatically finished off their slate of Florida games against Millsaps. Every Kenyon player won in straight sets and none lost more than 3 games for the second time this tournament, a truly impressive achievement.
Reflecting on the trip, Lazaridou relished being able to play many great teams. “We got to play against seven different teams, including some of the top teams in the country, and I would like to say that I’m really proud of my team for being so competitive,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. For her performances, Lazaridou earned the NCAC Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week for the second time this season, but Lazaridou is not resting on her laurels: “Picking up my second NCAC [honor] gave me so much strength and motivation so I can now set even higher and harder goals for this season. … I’m looking forward to playing my best tennis and getting the best possible results.”
Now 7-3, the No. 30 ranked Owls will turn to Sweet Briar College (Va.) on Sunday in Stow, Ohio.
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