The Drexel University men’s and women’s tennis teams travelled to Elon, North Carolina, April 20 for the Colonial Athletic Association Championships. Both teams faced tough competition at the Burlington and Jimmy Powell Tennis Centers to close out their 2017-18 seasons.
The women’s team faced Elon University in the quarterfinals falling 4-0 in what would be their season closer. In doubles, senior Kendra Bunch and sophomore Ghita Benhadi lost a close match to Maria Paraja and Alex Koniaev, 7-5, at the top spot. Senior Clary Rodriguez Cruz and freshman Salma Ziouti fell to the pairing of Olivia Lucas and Erica Braschi at No. 2, 6-2. At No. 3, freshman Mya Fuentes and senior Ryshena Providence were battling Suzanne Zenoni and Kristen Ward to get to a score of 6-6, but the match went unfinished.
Moving into the singles competition, at No. 6 Rodriguez Cruz was defeated by Ward, 6-3, 6-2. Despite this loss, Rodriguez Cruz finishes her senior season with the second-most program wins in singles and doubles. At No. 5 junior Anisiya Simpson dropped a tough match to Koniaev, 6-0, 6-3.
In her final appearance as a Dragon, Bunch fell to Lucas at No. 1, 6-2, 6-2. Bunch closes out her career as the all-time winningest player in Drexel women’s tennis history, in both career singles wins and doubles wins. An impressive four-year career saw the senior captain achieve a record of 65-34 in the singles and 70-31 in the doubles.
Despite solid efforts from the rest of the Dragons’ line-up, the remaining three games of the match went unfinished as the Phoenix took the win.
The Dragons finish the 2017-18 season with a record of 15-5, including a record of 10-0 at home. Their 15 wins are tied for the second-most in program history and their win percentage of .750 is the second highest mark in school history.
The men’s tennis team saw more success in their quarterfinal campaign, played April 20 at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center. The Dragons downed James Madison University, 4-2, carrying them into the semi-finals for the first time since 2013.
The Dragons got started quickly by taking the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Despite dropping the first doubles match at No. 3, the pairing of freshman Sanil Jagtiani and senior Balaji Lakshmanan defeated the Dukes, 6-2, at No. 2. Junior Sinan Orhon and graduate student Bernard Tefel then downed their opponents, 6-3, at No. 1 to clinch the first point.
The Drexel side dropped singles in the top two spots before winning at No. 4, No. 6, and No. 3, in that order, to secure the victory. Jagtiani won at No. 4, 7-6, 6-3, while sophomore Youssef Lahlou fought to win, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 6 and Orhon clinched the match at No. 3, battling to a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory.
This win carried the team into the semi-finals which were played April 21 against the College of William & Mary. The fifth-seeded men’s team dropped the game to the Tribe, 4-0.
The Tribe jumped ahead to take the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3, both by a score of 6-3. In singles, William & Mary continued to dominate. Tefel fell to Sebastian Quiros, 6-3, 6-0, at No. 5 followed by Jagtiani’s 6-2, 6-2 loss to Finbar Talcott at No. 4, and Lahlou’s 6-3, 6-2 defeat at No. 6.
The Dragons finish out the 2017-18 campaign with a 14-7 (2-1 CAA) record, beating the single-season program mark for victories.