The Drexel University men’s tennis team started off their 2018-19 season with an inability to find their footing, going 0-4 in their first few matchups. The Dragons have yet to face any rivals in the Colonial Athletic Association, but they have still been tested against top programs, including the United States Naval Academy Jan. 20 and La Salle University. In spite of this tumultuous start, Drexel has seemingly found their groove, putting together a winning streak following victories against La Salle and Morgan State University Jan. 27.
Coming off of the win against the La Salle Explorers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Hecht & Hamlin Tennis Center, which plays host to Drexel’s home indoor matches, the Dragons extended their win streak to three after a narrow away win at Lehigh University, Feb. 10.
The doubles teams were up first on the courts, and play kicked off when Drexel’s No. 2 doubles pairing of sophomores Sanil Jagtiani and Xandy Hammitt faced the Lehigh duo of senior George Cooper and freshman Gary Fishkin. Drexel set a good precedent with a 6-2 win to start off the day.
The No. 3 doubles court saw junior Alvaro Cruz Chamorro and freshman Juan Manuel Sanchez go up against Lehigh senior Christopher Auteri and junior Jack Martin-Dyer. Lehigh leveled the overall score to 1-1 after edging out a 6-3 win, despite solid play from the Dragons.
The outcome of the doubles scores was left in the hands of the foursome playing at the No.1 spot. Drexel senior Sinan Orhon paired with freshman Gustaw Wogen in a high paced affair against the combined efforts of Lehigh freshman Zack Elliott and sophomore Harry Wang. Drexel was once again unable to replicate the success they found in their opening match, falling 7-6. The Mountain Hawks had taken the doubles, and held the 1-0 overall lead going into singles.
Beginning singles play, Jagtiani continued his winning ways with a win over Lehigh senior Bryant Born at the No. 3 spot. Jagtiani took the first set 6-3 and the second 6-4.
Chamorro returned to the courts at the No.1 singles spot against Lehigh opponent Wang. Though Chamorro’s scores were similar to those of his doubles performance, as he dropped two sets in a row 6-2 and 6-4, respectively, the junior maintained a calm and steady play throughout.
At the No. 4 singles court, Hammitt followed up on his successful doubles outing with a win in a long lasting match with Lehigh’s Martin-Dyer. Both players had claimed a set apiece, forcing a third which Hammitt took comfortably 6-3.
Drexel had evened the overall scoring, though led 2-1 in singles play. At the No. 2 Orhon would briefly put Drexel ahead by one point in a challenging win over Elliott, in what would prove to be an exciting rematch between the two opposing sides of the No. 1 doubles match.
However, Lehigh would ensure the score was again tied up after Sanchez rematched his No. 3 doubles opponent Auteri at the No. 6 singles spot and lost in two sets.
With the overall score standing 3-3, Drexel was depending on Wogen to come through in the No. 5 singles match. The freshman showed veteran composure to edge out the three-set match, gifting Drexel the 4-3 win.
Drexel’s women’s tennis team were also in action against Lehigh Feb. 10, when they managed to earn themselves a victory as well. They did so with a lot less pressure on their shoulders in the final moments of play, dominating the matchup throughout enroute to a 5-1 win.
Much like the men’s side, the success of the women’s team came from their hard work in singles competition, as Drexel dropped two of their three doubles matches. Highlights for Drexel included their taking of all three of the top singles matches. Junior Katka Majorova added to her doubles win with at No. 3 singles over Lehigh freshman Elizabeth Nowak.
Sophomore Salma Ziouti and junior Ghita Benhadi held down the No.1 and No.2 singles spots, respectively, with Benhadi overcoming serious adversity in an aggressively competitive three-set match. Ziouti won a close first set 6-4, but then remained dominant in the final two sets to win 6-2 for the second and completely blow out her opponent 6-0 in the third.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be seen in action again Feb. 15, when they host Villanova University in a rivalry matchup. The men will play at the Philadelphia Legacy Center, while the women will play at the RiverWinds Golf & Tennis Club.