The Kenyon men’s tennis team concluded its spring season with a second-place finish in the NCAC championship over the weekend. The Owls went into the tournament as the No. 2 seed after ending the season with a 14-10 record (6-1 NCAC). Following strong play in the first two rounds, Kenyon fell to rival No. 14 Denison University in a rematch of last year’s final.
On Friday, Kenyon took on Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) in the first round of the tournament. In doubles play, the Owls made quick work of the Battling Bishops, winning all three matches with a combined game score of 24-5. Momentum carried over to the singles side, as decisive wins from Christophe Leblanc ’25 in the No. 6 match and Eric Zhang ’25 in the No. 3 match gave Kenyon the 5-0 win.
The next day, Kenyon took on DePauw University in the semi-finals. The doubles duo of Zhang and Thomas Kallarakal ’23 started the day off right with a 8-5 victory in the No. 2 position. However, two tiebreaker losses from No. 1 and No. 3 doubles meant the Owls had to rally in singles play after falling behind 2-1 to the Tigers — and Kenyon did just that. Paulo Pocasangre Kreling ’26 tied the match with a decisive 6-1, 6-3 victory in the No. 5 match. Straight set victories from Luis Andres Platas ’23 in the No. 3 spot and Rishil Kondapaneni ’25 in the No. 1 spot increased the Owls’ lead to 4-2. After Kenyon fell in the No. 2 singles match, a DePauw comeback seemed possible. However, Zhang killed the Tigers’ hope with a straight set victory in the No. 6 match, giving the Owls a 5-3 win.
Kenyon faced Denison in the conference finals on Sunday. The Owls got off to a fast start with terrific doubles play. Eliezer Gonzalez ’26 and Pocasangre Kreling, Kenyon’s No. 1 doubles duo, started the day off with an 8-5 victory. In the No. 3 doubles match, Kondapaneni and Platas followed suit with another 8-5 victory. Kenyon almost swept the doubles matches, but a tiebreaker loss in the No. 2 spot gave the Owls a 2-1 lead heading into singles play. On the singles side, the tide began to turn in Denison’s favor. Three straight Denison victories in the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 matches gave the Big Red a 4-2 lead. In the No. 1 spot, Kondapaneni did all he could to support a Kenyon comeback after he rallied from a first set loss to win the match 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. However, a tiebreaker victory for Denison in the No.6 match gave the Big Red a narrow 5-3 win over the Owls.
Kallarakal, whose battle for the No. 2 match was left unfinished, praised the team’s effort in the NCAC tournament. “The final against Denison was really close, and it was determined by only a couple points here and there. I’m very proud of the effort that all of us put forth, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from all the guys,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. Though his time at Kenyon is coming to a close, Kallarakal believes that the future is bright for the Owls: “I’m very excited to see what the future holds for this group of guys. They’re a really talented group and I’m confident that they’ll be able to continue the Kenyon [men’s] tennis legacy for years to come.”
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