M. and W. Tennis open up regular season play

By ESTHER HONG | March 7, 2019

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HOPKINSSPORTS.COM Zou earned Centennial Player of the Week for her performance.

This past weekend, both Hopkins tennis teams played matches on the road, as the men traveled to Salisbury, Md., while the women headed to Annapolis, Md. While the No. 21-ranked men defeated the Salisbury University Sea Gulls 7-2, the women lost to the United States Naval Academy 5-2.

The men brought the heat from the start, as they grabbed a quick 3-0 lead. The Blue Jays swept their doubles matches, as juniors Joe Cartledge and Austin Gu earned the first point of the match with an 8-5 victory over juniors Ian Siew and Colt Williamson. Seniors Colin Muraika and Scott Thygesen followed suit, taking an 8-7 (6) win at second. Junior Aaron Carey and sophomore Eric Yoo teamed up to complete the double shutout, defeating Salisbury’s senior Kelson Weber and junior Patrick MacLean at third, with a score of 8-7 (5). 

The Sea Gulls cut the deficit to two points with Siew picking up a point with a 5-3, 6-1 victory over Blue Jay freshman Naevin Anukornchaikul. However, Hopkins responded quickly. Gu once again defeated Williamson, this time in a singles match, to advance the Jays’ lead to 4-1. 

Salisbury didn’t shy away, as Thygesen’s 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 loss gave the Sea Gulls another point, cutting the Hopkins lead down to two once again. The small shift in momentum for the Sea Gulls was not enough to secure a comeback, as it was all Hopkins from this point on. Cartledge earned a 6-4, 6-3 win at fourth. Yoo came back in his singles match, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 at first. Carey finished the day with a 6-1, 6-4 win at sixth.

The final score read 7-2, as the Blue Jays had a strong start and end to their match against the Sea Gulls. Hopkins improves their all-time record against Salisbury to 13-7, as they have the won last 11 matches. 

The men return to action on Sunday, Mar. 10, as they host the Washington and Lee University Generals. The match is set to start at 12 p.m. at the Hopkins Tennis Courts.

Despite the outcome, the women still had a strong showing against tough Division-I competition. Navy gained an early lead, taking the first two points of the match at first and second doubles. Senior Katie Gauch and freshman Evelyn Chang fell 6-1, and sophomore Anjali Kashyap and junior Sophia Strickland also fell 6-1. 

The Blue Jays worked hard to cut the deficit in half, as sophomore Dhanya Asokumar and senior Kimberly Zou kept Navy from taking home a complete doubles sweep and won 6-2 at second. 

Strickland and Asokumar both struggled in their singles matches, as Navy grabbed two more points to leave Hopkins trailing by three. Strickland lost 6-1, 6-3 at second, and Asokumar lost 6-1, 6-2 at third. 

Chang fought back for the Blue Jays, however. Being just a freshman, Chang showcased her skill and potential at her spring collegiate debut. She took a 6-3, 6-3 victory at fifth, proving that she could not only keep up with, but also outplay Division-I opponents. Chang’s performance is promising for the future of her career and the future of her contributions to the team. 

Chang commented on her individual performance and how her first in-season collegiate match was great experience for what is to come in this upcoming season.

“In terms of my own performance, I’m pretty happy with how I played and just having a positive first in-season match experience, so I am really excited for our next matches,” she said.

After Gauch lost her singles match 6-1, 7-6 (3), Zou came out with fire. She won an intense three-set win to give her team another point. The score read 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, and due to this incredible fight, Zou was named Centennial Conference Player of the Week. 

Zou garnered momentum for the Jays but not enough to overcome Navy. Kashyap could not close out the day with a win and lost in a hard-fought three-set match. The final score of the day was 5-2, and Hopkins is now 0-2 with Navy in their all-time record. 

Chang reflected on the team’s performance against Navy and looks forward to the team’s potential for future success.

“I think this weekend’s match against Navy was a pretty good preview for our upcoming season. We had some really close matches against good Division-I players, so I think we’re all looking forward to having a good season!” Chang said. 

The women have a long break until their next match, where they can dedicate their upcoming training to make key adjustments for Friday, March 15. They travel down to the University of Mary Washington and face off Bates College at 3:00 p.m.

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