Section: Sports

Owls sweep Oberlin College in first conference victory

After falling to No. 12 Case Western Reserve University on Saturday, the No. 27 Kenyon women’s tennis team opened NCAC play with a victory over Oberlin College on Wednesday. The team’s record currently stands at 3-1 (1-0 NCAC).

Kenyon started its road matchup against Case Western strong with a victory in the No. 2 doubles. Erika Pontillo ’23 and Allaire Berl ’26 picked up an 8-2 win to give the Owls an early lead. Unfortunately, Case Western answered back to win the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches, both 8-4. Kenyon evened up the score as Eleni Dakos ’24 took the No. 4 singles 6-4, 6-2. In an email to the Collegian, Dakos credited her coaches for her success in the match: “I tried to really focus on what my coaches told me and tried to stay positive throughout the entire match and keep a high energy level, and it worked!” 

With the two teams tied at 2-2, the Spartans took control of the momentum. In the No. 6 singles, Pontillo took her opponent to a tiebreaker in the first set, but ultimately fell 7-6 (7-4), 6-0. Lalasa Nagireddy ’25 also went to a tiebreaker in the No. 5 singles, but lost the match 7-6 (7-4), 6-1. Case Western clinched the win in the No. 3 singles match, as Shadia Amado Aguad ’26 fell 6-4, 6-4. After the Spartans picked up a win in the No. 2 singles, Leni Lazaridou ’26 gave the Owls their final win of the day with a hard-fought 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory in the No. 1 singles. Case Western came away with the 6-3 win.

Despite the loss, Dakos was proud of the team’s ability to compete against a higher-ranked opponent. “Even though Case has a larger team than us numbers-wise, I think we brought a lot of energy and kept it throughout the match,” she said. Lazaridou echoed that sentiment in her email to the Collegian: “I think that overall the team gave a really good impression and every single girl put so much effort into it, since all of our results were pretty close even though we didn’t take the win in the end.”

Kenyon opened conference play at home against Oberlin on Wednesday. Prior to the match, Dakos emphasized the importance of maintaining the team’s competitive spirit. “I’m excited for our first home match against Oberlin, and I think if we continue to bring the same energy we have been, we will be successful, especially being at home,” she said. Lazaridou echoed Dakos: “We need to keep up the teamwork and support and cheer each other up every time we have the chance.” With only four players competing for the Yeowomen, the Owls earned wins in the No. 3 doubles and the No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches by default. In the No. 1 doubles, Dakos and Lazaridou cruised to an 8-2 victory. Pontillo and Berl withstood an Oberlin comeback attempt to take the No. 2 match 8-7 (7-1), sealing the overall match victory for Kenyon. The Owls completed the sweep by picking up wins in the top four singles matches. 

The Owls will head south to Orlando, Florida, where they will play a slate of spring break matches. Kenyon will kick off competition against Haverford College (Pa.) on Wednesday. Dakos is excited for the chance to play against top-tier talent, while enjoying a warmer climate. “I am excited for the tennis and non-tennis activities we will be doing, and it’ll be great to have a change of scenery,” she said. “We also play a lot of good teams during our spring break, so I think it will be a great opportunity for everyone to compete to their fullest!” Lazaridou hopes to translate the team’s experience in the Sunshine State into success in NCAC play. “We will also be able to watch some great matches and then come back to Kenyon to continue our conference matches with more confidence and unique experiences,” she said.


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