Drexel University’s men’s and women’s tennis teams celebrated matches with mixed results. Both teams faced off April 6 against the University of Delaware. The men pulled through with a 4-3 win, defeating Delaware for the first time in the history of the program, while the women suffered a 5-2 loss.
The women started the match strong in doubles play. Zeynep Mafa and Marcela Rosales finished off their match with an 8-5 win, followed by Nicole Pivonka and Emma Brook, who came out with a 9-8 win to give the Dragons the doubles point. Mafa went on to compete in singles and gained another win over the Blue Hens 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
But in the remainder of their matches, the Dragons’ No. 2-6 players were ultimately defeated. Though beaten this time, the women are not done yet as they prepare for the Colonial Athletic Association Championships.
Mehdi Rhazali, head coach of the tennis team, said, “It’s not bad at all, and we have Zeynep Mafa; she hasn’t lost a match in the CAA.”
On the other hand, the men’s team walked away victorious. In doubles play, Badr Ouabdelmoumen and Xabier Saavedra won their match 8-7, but the team could not obtain another win for the point. In singles play, though, Ouabdelmoumen started the team off strong with a win. The Dragons dropped the No. 2 match, but their No. 3-5 players were able to pull through with singles wins. Skyler Davis, Daniel Koehler and Saavedra each won their matches, getting the team right where it needed to be for its first victory over Delaware.
“There’s a high chance we play Delaware again, and beating them this week makes us believe more,” Rhazali said of the men’s team. “We just need to keep working hard, stay humble and make sure we can do it again.”
The team, both men and women, have worked hard this season to get where they are.
“I have a lot of respect for the team. They’ve been doing a lot of work, and they’ve had a good season so far,” Rhazali said. “It shows in the amount of fitness and training each teammate puts in to help reach their goals for the season.”
How does the team prepare for the CAA Championships? Well, the answer to that is hard work, both in the areas of technique and in fitness.
“This week is a lot of one-on-ones,” Rhazali noted. “The week before CAAs is just practice and staying healthy. It also gives you a mental break.”
As opposed to the usual team practices, Rhazali has been working with one player at a time, making it more effective in helping each individual on technique at this crucial point in the season.