Section: Sports

Men’s tennis falls to Big Red in NCAC tournament final

Over the weekend, the Kenyon’s men’s tennis team competed in the NCAC tournament, finishing in second place. The Owls recorded clean sweeps of Ohio Wesleyan University and Oberlin College, before falling short in the finals to Denison University.

The quarterfinals against the Battling Bishops saw the Owls dominate across the doubles matches, with the No. 1 pairing Gianluca Bocanegra Rodriguez ’27 and Paulo Pocasangre Kreling ’26 winning 8-3, followed up with an 8-2 victory from No. 2 duo Rishil Kondapaneni ’25 and Eric Zhang ’25. Meanwhile, on court No. 3, the team of Eliezer Gonzalez ’26 and Alejandro Gonzalez ’27 continued the Owls’ streak and won 8-0 in their match.

Kenyon only needed to win two more games to come out on top in the best of nine series, with Eliezer Gonzalez and Zhang quickly providing 6-0, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-2 results, respectively. With that, the other four singles matches went unfinished and Kenyon headed to the semifinal.

The doubles matches went similarly for Kenyon in the Saturday semifinal against Oberlin, starting with a clean 8-0 sweep by the Gonzalez duo on the No. 3 court. The No. 1 team of Pocasangre Kreling and Christophe LeBlanc ’25 along with the No. 2 team of Zhang and Kondapaneni also won their sets, with both resulting in 8-2 victories.

In the singles matches, Eliezer Gonzalez and Rakkan Audeh ’25 both played marvelously, as Gonzalez claimed a 6-2, 6-1 win, while Audeh recorded a dominant 6-0, 6-1 victory. With five match wins under their belts, the Owls secured a spot in the NCAC finals against the Big Red for the third straight season.

The finals against Denison started on a tense note, as Kenyon couldn’t replicate  the success it had with the quarter- and semifinals. The No. 2 team of Zhang and Kodapaneni won their match 8-3, but the other two courts went in favor of the Big Red. The No. 3 game in particular was close, with Alejandro Gonzalez and Eliezer Gonzalez losing in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (7-5).

Kenyon was unable to shift momentum from there, dropping the three singles matches to Denison. Despite a strong showing in the early rounds of the NCAC Tournament, the Owls ultimately came in second, finishing their season with a 14-8 (6-1 NCAC) record. “I would say this season as a whole didn’t go as we planned,” Kondapaneni wrote in an email to the Collegian. These past two years we have been neck and neck with Denison, however, this time in the NCAC tournament we weren’t able to win a single set in singles.” Loss aside, the team still has hope for the future. “We have a great group of guys and I am confident we will bring the NCAC title home next season,” Kondapaneni said.

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