This past weekend, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled away from Hopkins to close out their fall seasons. To start, the women headed to Loyola University to participate in the Loyola Invitational.
The tournament was played in a “Points of a Compass” style where the team was split up into pairs that competed against other pairs in one doubles matchup and then the individuals faced off. The pair that won the majority of the three matchups would move on in the winner’s bracket and the pair that lost moved to the consolation bracket.
Three other teams participated in the invitational: Loyola, Mount St. Mary’s University and George Mason University. Four Hopkins pairings competed against the Division-I competition, which gave the players experience against top competition.
The freshman pairing of Sophie Saland and Lillian Oliver lost their three matchups on the weekend but were able to win one of the three competitions in two of their three matchups.
Sophomore Dhanya Asokumar and freshman Anya Gunewardena paired up and alternated wins and losses to take sixth place overall. They first beat Loyola’s pairing of freshman Julia Thompson and sophomore Kendall Kutner. They then lost to senior Sydney Green and sophomore Brianna Gibbs of George Mason. They bounced back and beat another Loyola pairing before falling in their final matchup to a pair from Mount St. Mary’s.
The pairing of sophomore Margo Gerke and freshman Meg Chien bounced back from losing their first two matchups to win their last two and secure 13th place.
The final pair for the Blue Jays was junior Sophia Strickland and freshman Evelyn Chang. The partners lost their first match to a pair from George Mason, then swept sophomore Mia Pittman and senior Emma Blake from Mount St. Mary’s. Senior Katie Gauch then came in for Strickland and the pair beat sophomore Hannah Yang and junior Rachel Lee of George Mason to move into the ninth-place match, in which they could not pull out the victory.
The team got a lot of experience between last week’s Southeast Regional tournament and this week’s competition against Division-I opponents. Many freshmen got their first taste of college tennis, which will prepare them for when the season kicks off in the spring.
On the men’s side, the team headed down to the University of Mary Washington for the men’s ITA Southeast Regional. Eight members of the team competed in the singles tournament, and five of them made it to the round of 16.
Junior Austin Gu led the charge for the Blue Jays, making it to the semifinals. Gu’s deep run was not easy, as he had to come frwom behind in three of his first four matchups. Gu would finally be taken down in his fifth match against the top-seeded Carnegie Mellon University senior Daniel Levine.
Gu commented on his performance at the tournament.
“In the first match, the guy I played was definitely one of the better players in the draw, so once I found out I could compete with him, let alone beat him, that set up a pretty good tone for me for the rest of the tournament. For the rest of my matches, once I got settled in, it just felt like executing my own game would be enough to pull out the win,” Gu said.
Sophomore Vishnu Joshi entered the draw seeded second and also made a deep run in the tournament. He won his first-round matchup in two sets, then won a three-set match and a two-set match to make it all the way to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals he could not pull out a win in the third set, bringing his tournament run to an end.
Senior Scott Thygesen took both his first two matchups all the way to three sets but managed to win them both in order to advance to the round of 16 before falling in three sets to Levine.
Freshman Naevin Anukornchaikul also advanced to the round of 16, winning his first match in two sets and then winning his second round matchup when his opponent retired in the third set. However, Anukornchaikul’s strong run was stopped short in the round of 16.
Junior Aaron Carey cruised through his first round matchup, only losing two games total, but had to grind out a tough 7-6 (4), 7-5 victory to move on to the round of 16, where he would eventually be beaten.
The strong performances across the board in the fall season bring promise and excitement for the upcoming spring season.
“One thing for sure was that our team is really deep this year. I think you could say that about our team in past years as well, but I think this year especially we have at least 4 to 5 guys who can compete with anyone at any position, so it’ll be really cool to see how that plays out,” Gu said.
Look out for both the men’s and women’s tennis teams in the spring when they pick up their regular season schedule on the path to an NCAA championship.