This weekend both men’s (No. 25) and women’s (No. 23) tennis competed against Centennial Conference opponent Muhlenberg College. The men additionally faced a non-Conference opponent Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Both teams emerged from the weekend victorious with impressive scores.
Though the men had the additional challenge of playing an additional opponent, the gentle-Jays took it in stride. Kicking the weekend off in home territory, they glided past the RPI Engineers with little difficulty, posting a final score of 7-2.
The dynamic duo of junior Vik Vasan and sophomore Vishnu Joshi started the day off with an 8-2 victory against RPI sophomore Brian Niguidula and freshman Eddie Wu. Next up were seniors Colin Muraika and Scott Thygesen with a quick 8-0 win against RPI junior Zach Ebenfeld and freshman Dylan Payne. The Jays fell just short of a perfect sweep, as juniors Joe Cartledge and Austin Gu were overcome by junior Sebastian Castillo-Sanchez and sophomore Andrew Imrie 6-8. The Jays were quick to bounce back, however, dominating singles competition.
Gu opened the second phase of the day with a 6-1, 6-2 victory. Junior Aaron Carey swooped in after, ending his match 6-1, 6-3 against RPI freshman Victor Stoyanov. Joshi followed up 6-3, 7-6 against Castillo-Sanchez, securing the Hopkins victory. Sophomore Eric Yoo and Thygesen added the icing to the cake, clinching their matches against Payne and Niguidula, 6-4, 6-3 and 2-6, 6-1, 7-5. The singles loss for the Jays came by the hands of RPI’s freshman Yudai Teruyama, who helped RPI narrowly escape a complete and total loss by beating Blue Jay junior Cody Kim 7-6, 6-7, 1-0.
Next on the agenda was the Muhlenberg College Mules. Though the Jays had just come off of playing RPI, the Mules proved to be no trouble. The Jays ended the day 9-0 against the Mules, improving their record to 21-1 against them.
Freshman Eric Burrer and sophomore Alex Matisse took Muhlenberg junior Noah Sellinger and sophomore Jason Grant 8-1 to start the day. Up next were freshman Brian Wang and sophomore Jack Hogan with a smooth 8-3 victory against Muhlenberg junior Alex Dagilis and senior Steven Shoemaker. Finally, sophomores Matt Lurie and Robby Simon sealed the doubles sweep for the Jays, beating sophomores Adam Kronick and Gavin Meyers.
The Jays blew past the Mules entirely in singles competition. Lurie, Wang and Burrer took on Sellinger, Dagilis and Grant, while Hogan, Simon and Matisse battled freshman Daniel Kantor, Shoemaker and junior Andrew Natko. Each Jay emerged victorious.
Wang talked about how the team prepared for this weekend’s back-to-back matches.
“Going into the weekend, the team was relatively confident because before the Emory match (they’re No. 2 in the country), we had been comfortably winning matches against solid, nationally-ranked teams. Even at Emory, Joe Cartledge pulled out a huge win, and Austin Gu played a really close match with one of the best Division III players in the country. Both RPI and Muhlenberg field tough squads to go against, but we practiced throughout the week emphasizing the mentality of competing hard and trusting our ability,” he said.
The women, however, were not to be outdone. They brought home a sweep of their own with an all-freshman lineup, matching the men’s 9-0 victory.
Right out of the gate, Hopkins freshmen Evelyn Chang and Jessica Liang quickly beat Muhlenberg freshman Maria Stere and senior Meghan Olsen. Freshmen Amanda Ruci and Anya Gunewardena posted a matching score against Muhlenberg senior Shelby Knafo and freshman Carly Lodise. Closing doubles play, Hopkins freshmen Sophie Saland and Lillian Oliver pulled the most impressive win, 8-1, over their opponents freshman Rose Glantz and sophomore Jessica Sommer.
Singles was a similar story. Soaring in to solidify the sweep came Chang, 6-0, 6-0 against Stere. Liang did the same against Olsen. Ruci and Gunewardena both overcame their opponents Knafo and Lodise 6-2, 6-0. Saland then beat Glantz 6-1, 6-0, and Oliver ended the day for the Jays with a perfect game against junior Ji-In Friess.
It can be difficult for some teams to shift their focus back onto the future after an overwhelmingly successful performance. The Blue Jays, however, are not suffering from this problem.
Wang described the team’s mindset for the rest of the season.
“We just have Conference matches in front of us now, so our sole focus is defending our Centennial Conference champion status and hopefully getting a bid into the NCAA Tournament.”
The women returns to the court at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 on the Homewood courts, and the men will return at the same time and the same place the next day. Both teams will face the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats.