The Drexel University tennis teams finally concluded their respective seasons April 17 in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships.
The men’s team fell to a tough Elon University team, 4-0, and bowed out of the championships in the quarterfinals.
The team went down a point quickly in the doubles matches, falling in the first two matches. Trying to salvage the third and final match, the Dragons trotted out Badr Ouabdelmoumen and Dan Hansen. The match went back and forth, but it went unfinished at 7-7.
The team would look to the singles matches for a change in fate, but the Phoenix proved to be a tough opponent to break through against.
Ouabdelmoumen was blanketed by his Elon opponent in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. Kashyap Ashok and Xabier Saavedra were also stifled in their singles matches, losing in similar straight sets. The subsequent matches featuring Alex Fioravante, Hamza Laalej and Dan Koehler all went unfinished as Elon advanced by finishing 4-0.
The women’s team faced a similarly staunch opponent against the College of Charleston in its quarterfinals match. Things got off to the same start as the men’s team in the doubles matches when the team lost the first two matches. They managed to win the third doubles match when Lea Winkler and Kendra Bunch netted a solid 8-2 win, but they still lost the doubles point.
Weather interrupted the singles matches, and it had a seemingly huge impact on the team.
Nicole Pivonka came out strong with the first set win before losing the second set. But her match went unfinished as a result of the weather. Erin Bowsher was also spurned by the weather as she split her singles sets as well, unable to complete the third set.
Charleston grabbed another point when Clary Rodriguez Cruz fell in tough straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, and Ryshena Providence got out in front in her match with a first-set win before her Charleston opponent clamped down and won in three sets.
Charleston won the match with four points when Kendra Bunch lost in straight sets in the final singles match.
Despite the somewhat disappointing first-round exits, head coach Mehdi Rhazali had largely good things to say about the teams’ seasons.
“We had a great year on and off the court,” Rhazali said. “We beat teams that we haven’t beaten before, and we set new standards for the program.
“Looking back at the season I have no regrets; everything happens for a reason. We improved, and we could have won some matches that didn’t go our way, but that’s just what it is. We learned from those losses.
“Now we need to use the offseason not only to rest but to also train some more, fix our movement, improve our decision making on the court and play individual tournaments to stay in a competitive mode and keep developing.”
As he looked ahead, Rhazali was optimistic about the future of the teams.
“We have a very good recruiting class coming in, and I’m sure we will be an even better team next year,” Rhazali continued. “We had great team chemistry this year, and our leaders did an excellent job pushing each other and the team on and off the court.
“Now we need to keep up the good work, keep growing our tennis culture and believe in ourselves more because what we have accomplished got us to the next phase, and now new goals will be in place.”
The men’s tennis team finishes the season at 12-10, capturing the program’s first ever 12-win season.
The women’s team finishes its season at 15-3. The record represents their highest number of wins and win percentage ever in the program, highlighted by a nine-game winning streak.