W. Tennis sweeps two Conference opponents

By SIMONE BLISS | April 12, 2018

B12_Tennis

COURTESY OF HOPKINSSPORTS.COM

Sophomore Sophia Strickland helps team shut out Gettysburg with impressive doubles performance.

The 18th-ranked Hopkins women’s tennis came to the courts with fire to compete on both Friday and Saturday. The Jays brought their brooms this weekend, finishing the days with strong 9-0 sweeps against the Gettysburg College Bullets and the Muhlenberg College Mules.

Competition began on Friday against the Bullets. Hopkins only dropped three games during the afternoon and ended up sweeping the doubles matches.

Junior Katie Gauch and freshman Margo Gerke only took eight games to defeat their Gettysburg opponents, placing third against Gettysburg seniors Erica Paul and Erin Sweeney. Freshman Dhanya Asokumar and junior Kimberly Zou took an 8-1 victory in second, and freshman Anjali Kashyap and sophomore Sophia Strickland took an 8-3 victory at first.

In singles, Kashyap only lost two games, while Strickland only lost one. Their dominating efforts helped clinch the win for Hopkins.

However, the Jays were not done just yet, as they continued to rack up points. Zou, Asokumar, Gauch and junior Chrissy Simon all came out victorious in their singles matches. 

Hopkins is now 18-15 all-time against the Bullets, winning the last 17 matchups. The Blue Jays’ performance on the following day mimicked that of Friday afternoon, as they once again swept another Centennial Conference foe.

On Saturday against the Mules, the strong Hopkins play was highlighted in every matchup of both the singles and doubles competitions. Set-wise, no match was close.

In singles, both Gerke and freshman Sabrina Abrams marked the day strongly, winning every game in their matches for an impressive final score of 8-0. Simon and Gauch also secured their own undefeated games, winning one match 6-0 and another 6-1 each.

The singles competition overall however was quite strong across the board. Multiple players, like Asokumar, dropped only one game and sophomore Prerna Singh dropped just two.

Asokumar reflected on the team’s mindset going into the day.

“We went into Muhlenberg pretty confidently off of our other Conference wins and just went in with the mentality that we were going to have fun and play our best,” she said.

That was certainly what the Jays did, as they not only dominated in singles but crushed the competition in doubles as well.

In doubles, Gauch and Gerke, along with Zou and Asokumar, gave up only one set, closing their matches 8-1. The opposing pair of junior Jourdyn Buckheit and freshman Geetika Bhatia attempted to bring one home for the Mules, but the Jays’ pair of Kashyap and Strickland stopped them in their tracks, and Hopkins won their match with a solid 8-4 victory. 

Asokumar looked back on the team’s performance on the day.  

“Our team played really well against Muhlenberg. We couldn’t have asked for better results with our 9-0 win,” she said.

Saturday’s extension of the Jays’ hot streak was a welcome change from their struggles earlier in the season. The Blue Jays entered Conference play on a losing streak, but they did not let that hinder the intensity they’ve brought to matches since then. 

Difficult competition and struggle early on has made the team focus on growth and face challenges with determination. 

The Jays reflected fondly on the weekend’s successes and spoke about continuing to strive to higher goals as the season progresses. 

“Our goal this season is to really just keep improving,” Asokumar said. “We played some amazing teams earlier this year — some teams in the top 10 at indoor nationals and even some D-I teams like Navy and Towson — we hope to keep improving our game by playing good teams like these, so that we can really kill it at NCAAs.”

Their record currently stands at 5-7 on the season. However, they are undefeated in the Centennial Conference and currently hold first place, having shut out all their opponents thus far. The past three games against Gettysburg and Muhlenberg extend the Jays’ all-time Conference win streak to 115 in the regular season.

Next up, the Blue Jays have a chance to extend their streak when they face the Haverford Fords on the road in Haverford, Pa. on Saturday, April 14 at 11 a.m.

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