M. and W. Tennis continue to dominate the Centennial

By DAVID GLASS | April 19, 2018

HOPKINSSPORTS.COM The men's tennis team beat out Haverford 5-4 Saturday.

This past weekend, Hopkins men’s and women’s tennis continued their domination of the Centennial Conference, both winning their matches against the Haverford College Fords to remain undefeated in Conference play. The 20th-ranked women’s team continued their action on the court into Sunday, taking on the 18th-ranked University of Mary Washington Eagles.

The men’s match against Haverford was a nail-biter, with leads going back and forth throughout the day. Sophomore Vik Vasan spoke about the team’s mindset heading into each Conference match.

“We must always be ready and respect our opponents and what they bring,” Vasan said. “The great thing about our team is that we keep each other going on and off the court.”

Haverford struck first, taking the first singles match of the day. Hopkins answered quickly with consecutive wins by senior Justin Kang (6-3, 6-1) and freshman Eric Yoo (via disqualification), putting the Blue Jays up 2-1.

After Haverford tied it up at two apiece, Hopkins answered yet again, as their sophomores took over. Austin Gu and Aaron Carey won their singles matches to give Hopkins a 4-2 lead over the Fords. 

Haverford sophomore David Kong and junior Josh Moskovitz brought the Fords within one, defeating Carey and sophomore Joe Cartledge 9-8 (6) at first doubles.

Leading 4-3, Hopkins sent Vasan and freshman Alex Matisse out for the next match. The duo clinched the win for the Blue Jays, taking the match 9-7.

The Fords won the final match of the day to give the Blue Jays a close 5-4 victory.

Vasan explained how he managed to secure the win for Hopkins.

“It felt amazing to clinch that match, as it was a much needed win for our season this year,” he said. “Personally, this season I would like to help our team win the national championship and to come out a much more developed doubles player.”

The win over Haverford gives Hopkins its 21st consecutive Conference victory and its 100th victory in its last 101 Centennial matches.

Meanwhile, for the women, the victory over Haverford was a breeze. 

Junior Kimberly Zou talked about how the team’s development throughout the season has led to their success.

“Our team had a lot of matches in the beginning of the season before Conference play to learn how to play together and work as a team, especially since about half the team is new this year,” Zou said. “Now that we’re playing Conference matches, the team dynamic has really evolved, and it has definitely shown in our results.”

The Blue Jays dominated singles play, winning five out of six matches. The first win came from junior Katie Gauch, who only dropped one set in her victory.

Hopkins then followed with wins from freshman Anjali Kashyap and junior Chrissy Simon, both by a score of 6-1, 6-2. Zou then defeated Haverford senior Greta Koch 6-2, 6-2. 

To clinch the win for the Blue Jays, freshman Dhanya Asokumar won her match 6-3, 6-2. 

Hopkins, however, did not stop there. The Jays swept doubles play with wins from Kashyap and sophomore Sophia Strickland (8-2), Zou and Asokumar (8-4), and Gauch and freshman Margo Gerke (8-1).

This marks the 23rd consecutive win for the Jays in their all-time series against the Fords, as well as the Jays’ 116th straight regular season Conference win.

Following the match, Zou has 66 career wins, 33 in singles and 33 in doubles, and is tied for 23rd place in school history for combined wins.

On Sunday, however, the Blue Jays faced some stiff competition in the No. 18 Mary Washington Eagles.

The Blue Jays fell behind early, as the Eagles swept doubles play 3-0. Mary Washington features the region’s second-ranked doubles team in seniors Ashley Barrow and Kait Brogan, who defeated Kashyap and Strickland 8-3.

The first victory of the day for Hopkins came from Strickland, who defeated Eagles sophomore Rachel Summers 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Another point for the Blue Jays came from Zou, who won easily, 6-1, 6-3. 

The Jays’ final win came from Simon, who won her match 6-3, 6-4.

Mary Washington took the match 6-3, their second victory over Hopkins in their last three meetings.

Zou explained how the score did not necessarily illustrate the competitiveness of the match. 

“Mary Washington is exceptionally strong in doubles, and we started the match down 0-3 after doubles,” she said. “We won three singles matches, and two other singles matches were extremely tight, so the match really could have gone either way. I’m really proud of how the team came together to fight through to the very end.”

Zou, whose singles win moved her into a tie for 20th place in school history for combined wins, also talked about how her game has developed since entering Hopkins.

“Since tennis is a very mental sport, I think the biggest improvement in my game has been becoming a more mentally strong and stable player — focusing point by point rather than on the overall score,” she said. “Playing for a college team has really motivated me to play better since I am winning not just for myself but for the greater team.”

Both the men and women will be back in action at noon on Saturday, April 21 as they host the Ursinus Bears and look to stay undefeated in Conference play.

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