After playing the majority of their outdoor matches away, the Drexel University men’s tennis team arrived at the end of their season having played three of their final four regular season games home on Drexel’s Vidas Courts. The Dragons made their outdoor home debut April 4 against Saint Joseph’s University, taking down the Hawks 4-3.
Drexel largely owned the doubles matches against their longtime Philadelphia rivals, taking two out of the three contests. Junior Youssef Lahlou and freshman Juan Manuel Sanchez composed the third doubles party, garnering the 6-4 victory to secure the doubles point for the Dragons. Finishing just before them was the pairing of sophomores Xandy Hammitt and Sanil Jagtiani, who dropped their match 6-2. Drexel’s efforts at first singles were spearheaded by senior Sinan Orhon and freshman Gustav Wogen, who bageled their opponents. Lahlou was rendered unable to continue ahead of his scheduled match at second singles, forcing head coach Mehdi Rhazali to move each of players up a spot in singles play.
The clinching of the doubles point by Drexel would prove to be crucial to the final outcome of the day, as the opposing sides would break even in singles play, with the score at 3-3. Winners at singles included junior Alvaro Cruz Chamorro, Jagtiani and Sanchez. Chamorro was the victor at third singles, outpointing his opponent in straight sets. Sanchez and Jagtiani followed suit shortly at fifth and second singles, respectively, to clinch the win for the Dragons.
League contests in the Colonial Athletic Association were all that remained for Drexel for the rest of their season, the first of which came away against Hofstra University April 6. The 4-3 score of the contest in favor of the Dragons echoed that of their matchup against Saint Joseph’s, albeit under different circumstances. The doubles teams went 2-1, granting the doubles point to Hofstra. Lahlou and Sanchez were paired again to great effect, finishing first at the third doubles court with a 6-2 win.
There were several nail-biters during the singles portion of the day, with Jagtiani’s three-set loss showcasing the upperclassman’s fighting spirit after being unable to secure a game in his second set at third singles.
In need of wins, Drexel was carried on the efforts of Chamorro, Lahlou, Hammitt and Wogen, who each earned straight set wins in their contests. These clutch individual performances against the Pride pushed the Dragons to victory, with the score in deadlock until Wogen’s finish.
In the wake of Drexel’s winning streak, which included a tough league outing, spirits were high for the tennis squad as they returned home to take on James Madison University April 13. Despite the positive energy, Drexel found themselves unable to chain together wins throughout the competition. The Dragons were handed a 5-2 loss that saw them fall in the CAA rankings ahead of the upcoming league championships.
Drexel was defeated in doubles play, with the aggregate score again reading 2-1 for the Dragons’ opponents, and the duo of Lahlou and Sanchez again laying claim to Drexel’s only win on the doubles courts.
The matchup provided even more tantalizing contests at singles than Drexel’s matchup against Hofstra, with three players going into third sets. Orhon, after losing his first set, came back 7-6 in the second to force a third. Falling 10-2 in the final period, the senior displayed the same trademark leadership responsible for some of Drexel’s key wins this year. Jagtiani went to three sets for the second time in as many matches, but his offense was again shutdown in closing exchanges. The same could not be said for Wogen, the only Drexel player to clinch his three set game. Chamorro tallied a point for the Dragons with his straight set win at fourth singles.
The finale of Drexel’s regular season was as emotional as it was impressive for the Dragons since the tennis program celebrated its annual Senior Day with a tribute to Orhon, Drexel’s lone senior on the roster. Orhon led the Dragons against the University of Delaware in his last home match for the squad April 14. Orhon is Drexel’s leader in career singles and doubles matches won, and added to his tally with wins on the singles and doubles courts.
The remaining Dragons would follow Orhon’s lead to a 6-1 win over Delaware. Wogen, Orhon’s partner at first doubles, saw his winning ways spill over to his match at sixth singles. Jagtiani, Chamorro, Lahlou and Sanchez completed the shutout at singles, their first time accomplishing the feat this season.
Drexel’s postseason run will begin April 18, when the Dragons will travel to Elon, North Carolina, for the CAA tennis championships, hosted this year by Elon University. Drexel will start off in the quarterfinals against the College of William and Mary.