M. and W. Tennis advance in fall tournament season kickoff

By ESTHER HONG | September 27, 2018

B10_Tennis

HOPKINSSPORTS.COM

Anjali Kashyap advanced to the ITA finals for the second straight year.

Both the men’s and the women’s tennis teams competed this weekend, as both teams advanced players to the semifinals in their respective tournaments. The men’s team sent 10 players to Philadelphia where they competed in the 10th annual Saint Joseph’s Invitational this past weekend. The women traveled in the opposite direction, as they opened fall competition at the 2018 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast Regional Championship in Fredericksburg, Va.

Unfortunately, Sunday’s matches were cancelled due to inclement weather for the men’s competition. Despite the undesirable circumstances, the Blue Jays still took a lot out of the experience, as they were able to come into the tournament strong.

Junior Aaron Carey started out the day with a clean win over Andrija Bozovic of La Salle University, as he didn’t drop a game against his opponent. He quickly locked into his next matchup, as Carey defeated Eshan Kanetkar of Saint Joseph’s University 6-2, 6-2. Carey was on a streak, as he won his quarterfinal matchup against Danny Nomura of Villanova University. For the semifinal round, Carey ended up being matched up with his own teammate: sophomore Matt Lurie.

Lurie also had a strong showing, as he had a first-round bye and followed with two wins. He faced off against Andrew Nakhjavan of Lehigh University in the second round and Priyan DeSilva of Mary Washington University in the quarterfinals.

Junior Vik Vasan followed suit and also advanced to the semifinals. He began the day with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Sam Bencheghib of Lehigh University. He then defeated Alexander Schneider of Saint Joseph’s University and Derek Hagino of Mary Washington University. 

Sunday’s storms rained out the remainder of the tournament. Carey, Lurie and Vasan were unable to fight for the championship title, and Carey and Lurie were unable to play in their all-Blue Jay semifinal match. 

Despite the cliffhanger ending to their weekend, the men have another opportunity to win a tournament title, as they wrap up fall competition at the 2018 ITA Southeast Regional in Fredericksburg, Va. on Sept. 28-30.

While the men’s ITA Regional is this upcoming weekend, the women competed in their ITA Regional last weekend, as sophomore Anjali Kashyap advanced to the finals of the championship singles draw for the second year and freshman Jessica Liang won the B singles flight.

Kashyap reflected on the weekend.

“Overall this weekend was very successful! All my teammates came out and left it all on the court, never gave up and proved that Hopkins is at the top of the region,” Kashyap said.

Kashyap was seeded fifth in the draw. She opened with wins against Claire Lacksen of Washington & Lee College and Alison Burgess of Christopher Newport University. With only 16 players left in the tournament, Kashyap defeated Janabelle Wu of Carnegie Mellon University. She followed with a victory over Christina Harris of Lynchburg College. She was one of four players left standing when she was matched up against the top-seeded Johanna Ranta-aho from Christopher Newport. 

Kashyap was able to upset the number one seed in the tournament to secure her place in the final in straight sets, beating Ranta-aho 6-1, 6-3. She was set up for the championship match against Danna Taylor of Carnegie Mellon. The two traded the first two sets, each winning 6-2, but Taylor pulled out the third set and win the championship over Kashyap.

“I came into the tournament with no expectations and went out with the intention of playing my best. Although I didn’t get first, I learned a lot and can’t wait for the spring season and more opportunities,” Kashyap said.

Sophomore Dhanya Asokumar also made her mark, as she advanced to the round of 16. Seeded eighth, Asokumar faced ninth-seeded Jamie Vizelman of Carnegie Mellon and lost 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-4. 

Freshman Evelyn Chang started her collegiate career with an upset victory, as she beat the fourth-seeded Lily Schreiber of Christopher Newport 6-3, 6-1. She struggled in the next round though, as she lost to Swarthmore’s Sonia Varma, who she may face again during Centennial Conference play in the spring.

Hopkins continued to make noise, this time in the B singles flight division. Liang won her first collegiate match against Lindy Cornwall of Carnegie Mellon. In her quarterfinal match, Liang did not lose a game, defeating Christopher Newport’s Sydney Sawyer. She took an 8-2 victory against fourth-seeded Laura Brown of Salisbury University to advance to the championship match. In the finals, she defeated Centennial Conference opponent Elise Talley of Swarthmore College 8-3 to take home the ITA title.

The Blue Jays also made a deep run in the championship doubles draw, as Kashyap and junior Sophia Strickland, who were seeded first overall, made it to the semifinals. Asokumar and freshman Anya Gunewardena also had an impressive performance, as they went as far as the round of 16. 

“Shoutout to Chrissy Simon and Dhanya Asokumar for playing tough three-hour matches and also my amazing doubles partner Sophia Strickland for making it to the top eight,” Kashyap said.

The Jays are already preparing for their next opportunity to play against intense competition. They travel down the road to compete in the Loyola Invitational from Sept. 28-30.

“This tournament proved that Hopkins is a top competitor and that we’re ready to compete with other top 20 nationally ranked schools. I’m so proud of my team, and I know we’re only going to get better,” Kashyap said.

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