The Drexel University men and women’s tennis teams traveled to West Point, New York, March 6, where they went up against the U.S. Military Academy and Fordham University, respectively. The men’s team went up first with senior Badr Ouabdelmoumen taking the court, where he fell in straight sets. The team quickly fell into a 2-0 hole when Kashyap Ashok tried to get the Dragons on the scoreboard. Alex Fioravante then lost in straight sets by only one point, 7-6. The Dragons finally got a point when Xabier Saavedra won in three sets. However, that was their only point in the singles games as the team would drop the next two matches. With the match out of reach, the team tried to look to the doubles games for more success. They didn’t find it as they went on to lose all three doubles matches, leaving final score to be 6-1 in favor of Army. The loss dropped the team to 9-5.
The women’s team meanwhile was taken to task against Fordham. Nicole Pivonka put the Dragons out in front with straight set wins, but the team would go back and forth throughout the rest of the singles matches. By the time the games were played, the teams would be tied heading into doubles, 3-3.
Pivonka and doubles partner Clary Rodriguez Cruz were first up when they narrowly grabbed the first win, 8-7. After dropping the next game, it would be up to Kendra Bunch and Lea Winkler to steal the win for the Dragons. After close games throughout the match, the pair got the 8-3 win. The women’s team stood at 10-1 on the season, following the match.
Both teams returned back to the Armory March 8, where they faced Wagner College. The men’s team continued their favorable home form with a 5-2 victory. After splitting the first four singles matches, Hamza Laalej and Dan Koehler sealed the win with straight sets victories. The success flowed through into doubles as they won all three, highlighted by solid wins from Fioravante and Saavedra. The win pushed their record to 10-5 for the season with an incredible 9-1 record at home. The win marked an achievement as this is the first 10-win season since the 2007-2008 season.
The women’s team came to the same end result with their 7-0 win. The singles games was highlighted by Ryshena Providence’s straight set shutouts and Bunch’s near shutout, 6-1, 6-0. Having already swept singles, the team would look to capitalize in doubles and retain the final point. They would end up sweeping the sets, in part thanks to the duo of Erin Bowsher and Providence. The complete 7-0 shutout pushed the women’s record to 11-1 and a perfect 7-0 at home. Looking ahead, the side looks to continue their success en route to top their 14-win record set back in the 2008-2009 season.
Combined, both teams are 16-1 at home and coach Mehdi Rhazali was very proud of the team. “They know the program has been improving, but we all believe we can be way better than we are now. We won three Colonial Athletic Association weekly honors, started the season with two ranked players and defeated teams we never defeated before,” he said. “The team is simply hungry and wants to make history and show that Drexel University and the tennis program are growing. They are ambassadors, and that’s why our record is good.”
He continued: “To me the success doesn’t have much to do with being away or at home. It’s always nice to play at home because we play where we practice and spend most of our time, we have fans and athletic staff supporting us and that feels good and makes us feel more comfortable.”
Both teams head to RiverWinds Saturday, March 14 where they’ll play against the New Jersey Institute of Technology.