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Tennis brigade endures mixed bag vs. Delaware | The Triangle
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Tennis brigade endures mixed bag vs. Delaware

Freshman Lea Winkler prepares for a swing versus NJIT. The women’s tennis team won that match, 4-3, on Senior Day, but lost versus University of Delaware this past week, falling to 13-4 on the season. (Andrew Pellegrino)
Freshman Lea Winkler prepares for a swing versus NJIT. The women’s tennis team won that match, 4-3, on Senior Day, but lost versus University of Delaware this past week, falling to 13-4 on the season. (Andrew Pellegrino)

In a mirrored reflection of last week’s games, the Drexel tennis teams split games April 12 at the University of Delaware. This time it was the men’s side claiming the slim 4-3 victory over the Blue Hens.

The Dragons got off to a great start in the doubles games, as they went on to win two of three matches, including one that saw juniors Badr Ouabdelmoumen and Dan Hansen thrash their opponents 8-2. The other win saw junior Dan Koehler and senior Skyler Davis escape with an 8-7 win.

Already up one point, the Dragons only needed to split the singles matches to pick up the overall win. They got off to a bad start when Ouabdelmoumen was dropped in a straight-set loss 6-4, 6-4. The win was put in further jeopardy when Davis lost 7-5, 0-6, 6-1. But those fears were alleviated when the team ran off three straight victories to get the win, highlighted by Koehler, who won in straight sets 6-3, 7-6.

After the game, head coach Mehdi Rhazali acknowledged just how crucial the doubles point was for the team.

“The doubles point was very important and we won that point, which helped us a lot,” Rhazali said. “Being ahead by one point took away the pressure, and we just had to stay focused and fight for every point in every court.”

With the win, the men pushed their record over .500 to 9-8.

The women’s side suffered its first loss in five matches, losing 5-2 to the Blue Hens.
The Dragons were swept in the doubles games, with two of the three ending in one-point losses. Sophomore Erin Bowsher and junior Nicole Pivonka lost 8-7, and the same result followed for freshman duo Fiorella Coria and Lea Winkler.

Senior Zeynep Mafa lost in three sets to kick off the singles games 7-5, 1-6, 6-2, and senior Marcela Rosales lost the second match in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.

Already down two points in the singles matches, Pivonka tried to ignite an improbable Drexel comeback when she won an exhausting three-set match, including a second set that saw the score reach a full count at 6-7.

However, Delaware stopped the comeback cold, as Bowsher lost in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. The loss only puts a small dent in the women’s impressive 13-4 regular-season record.

Both teams head to Virginia April 18 for the Colonial Athletic Association Championships, and Rhazali had positive messages for the teams heading into the championships.

“I basically tell them that we came this far and we need to finish strong,” the head coach said. “We have been having some good wins and some tough losses, but we learned from them and we are learning more as we go.

“The women are 13-4. This record doesn’t happen by luck; we worked hard to get this far, and we just have to stay focused and believe.

He continued, “The CAA Championships doesn’t happen every week; it’s once a year, and it’s a special tournament, and we are looking forward to playing great tennis there.”
The men’s team will take on James Madison University April 18 at noon. The Dragons lost the lone regular-season matchup 4-3. Meanwhile, the women will play the hosts, The College of William & Mary. This will be the first encounter against William & Mary for the women.