Some wins are never meant to be.
This was the case for the Army Invitational, where the Drexel men’s tennis team was swept, losing all three matches. They started the tournament first with a 6-1 loss to Binghamton University, followed by a 4-3 loss to St. Bonaventure University. They then closed out the tournament with a disappointing 6-1 loss to the United States Military Academy.
In the first match against Binghamton, the Dragons’ only win came when junior Badr Ouabdelmoumen defeated his opponent in straight sets 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (9-7). With the lone win, Ouabdelmoumen pushed his undefeated streak to seven matches.
Sophomore Xabier Saavedra nearly garnered them another win, but fell in three sets. After dropping the first set 6-2, he roared back with a 6-3 second set victory. Unfortunately, the moment was short-lived, as his Binghamton counterpart took the third set — and thus the win — with a 6-4 victory. In doubles matches, the team was fended off by Binghamton. The closest they came to a victory was when Saavedra and junior doubles teammate Alex Fioravante lost 7-5.
In the following match against St. Bonaventure, the team lost by one point, 4-3. They split the singles matches, 3-3, as Ouabdelmoumen continued his unbeaten streak with a straight set victory.
The downfall for the team came in the doubles matches. In the complete sweep of the doubles matches, Ouabdelmoumen and senior teammate Paul Stauskas lost the set by one game, 8-7. Head coach Mehdi Rhazali thought a lack of energy might have accounted for the narrow loss.
“We could have won every single because we were leading the scoreboard in every set,” Rhazali said. “The next day we had to play doubles for the decisive point, we lost that one because our energy level wasn’t where it needs to be, we didn’t make enough returns to help us break and we also didn’t make enough serves to hold in important games.”
In the Dragons’ final match, the team was handily beaten 6-1. Compounding the loss, Ouabdelmoumen played through an injury and had his singles streak broken with a loss. The lone win against Army came when Saavedra defeated his opponent in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5. In doubles, the team was swept with the closest game coming when Saavedra and junior Dan Koehler lost 8-6.
“We were mentally exhausted from the morning loss,” Rhazali said. “However, we fought hard and kept fighting for each point. Badr Ouabdelmoumen couldn’t play his best tennis due to an injury that appeared the night after his singles match. At number four, Xabier Saavedra won his match; he played very well — very consistent tennis and good foot decisions.”
The losses at the Army Invitational snapped Drexel’s four-match winning streak and dropped them to 5-4 on the season. They will try to spark another winning streak when they head to the Armory March 1 to face Howard University.
Meanwhile, the women’s team swept both of its weekend matches with wins over Howard and La Salle University. The team thrashed Howard with a score of 6-1. They swept both doubles matches that saw teammates Marcela Rosales and Zeynep Mafa dispose of their Howard counterparts 6-3. In singles play, the team won all but one match. In that one loss, Mafa lost in three sets with a respectable score of 10-6 in the final set.
The following day, the team came back and did not let up with a 7-0 shutout of La Salle. It was a complete demolition as the team swept every match in straight sets and either shut them out or only conceded one game in consistent 6-1 victories.
With two wins in hand, the team moved to 6-1 on the season. In addition to the wins, Marcela Rosales and Zeynep Mafa won the award for Colonial Athletic Association doubles team of the week for their fantastic play.
The women’s team guns for their seventh win of the season when they go to battle with the University of Pennsylvania Feb. 28.