The Drexel University men’s tennis team got back on the winning track March 1, beating St. Francis University 4-3. After being blanked by Monmouth University Feb. 25, 0-4, the team came into their St. Francis battle 8-4 and 3-3 in their last six.
They found themselves in a 2-0 hole early on in singles play as Badr Ouabdelmoumen and Kashyap Ashok both lost in straight sets. Alex Fioravante finally got the Dragons on the board when he won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. Xabier Saavedra would lose in three sets in the next singles match, leaving the team on the short side of the 3-1 score. However, they rallied back in the next two games with Hamza Laalej and Dan Koehler winning in relatively easy straight sets.
With the score tied at three, the teams both looked for the decisive fourth point in the doubles games. Fioravante and Saavedra lost in the first match, putting the Dragons on the brink. Ashok and Koehler won the next match, 6-2, tying the doubles games at one. It would be up to Ouabdelmoumen and Daniel Hansen to get the win for Drexel. They didn’t disappoint as they picked up the doubles win in a 7-5 victory.
As always, Head Coach Mehdi Rhazali had praise for the team’s performance. “The team fought hard. The energy level and the fire in them were better than any other week this season. They wanted to win, they focused on the moment, they played smart and the win came along.”
He continued with his observations in the doubles matches. “The doubles point was very important and it definitely helped us build some momentum going into singles. Senior Alex Fioravante and Dan Koehler played very aggressively and looked for every opportunity to help close the important points such as the deuces or when we had a tie.”
The men’s team will now travel to West Point, New York where they will face the U.S. Military Academy on Friday, March 6 at noon. There they will try to improve on their 1-3 road record.
On the women’s side, the Dragons looked to set a record for most wins to start out the season with 10 straight. The team was down early 1-0 when Nicole Pivonka was shut down in 6-1 straight sets. Things didn’t get any better as Erin Bowsher was on the short end of three sets, losing the third set, 12-10. The next three singles matches would all end in straight set losses, effectively giving the team their first lose of the season. To cap off the disappointing singles games, Kendra Bunch would lose in three sets.
The doubles games weren’t any kinder to the team as Pivonka and Clary Rodriguez Cruz would lose 6-4. The team would manage to salvage one doubles match at the end however. Lea Winkler and Bunch would manage a razor close 6-5 win. In the end, the women’s team would get shut out 7-0. The loss snaps their record tying a nine game winning start to the season.
The team will head to West Point on Friday, March 6 where they’ll take their 3-1 road record against Fordham University.