Men’s and women’s tennis stay atop Conference

By ESTHER HONG | April 25, 2019

To no surprise, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams continue to dominate the Centennial Conference. This week, the 23rd-ranked men defeated the Haverford College Fords 7-2 to once again earn the top spot in the Conference. 

The 23rd-ranked women defeated not only Conference opponent Gettysburg College but also Division-I opponent Loyola University Maryland.

On Saturday the men started the day with a comforting 2-1 lead after doubles play. Sophomore Vishnu Joshi and junior Vik Vasan took an 8-5 win, and juniors Joe Cartledge and Austin Gu took a close 8-7 (4) win. 

Gu, who earns his second straight Conference Player of the Week award, won his singles matchup to put the Blue Jays up 3-1 against the Fords. Cartledge also earned a singles victory with a score of 6-0, 7-5. Senior Scott Thygesen, junior Cody Kim and junior Aaron Carey followed with wins of their own to secure the team victory. 

The Jays improve their all-time record against Haverford to 33-31. The close record is deceiving, however, because Hopkins has won the last 20 matches in the series. In addition to the crucial team win, several Blue Jays made noteworthy individual performances. 

Carey and Gu are now tied for 21st in school history for most singles wins with 34 each. Cartledge climbs up the charts to 22nd in school history for most career doubles wins with 40, with Gu not too far behind in 24th with 35 career doubles wins. 

The women followed a few days later to host the Gettysburg Bullets. The Blue Jays sweeped in doubles, jumping out with a quick 3-0 lead. 

Sophomore Anjali Kashyap, who was named this week’s Centennial Conference Player of the Week, teamed up with senior Chrissy Simon to open the day with an 8-1 win. 

Sophomore Margo Gerke and freshman Anya Gunewardena won 8-2, and senior Mika Inadomi and freshman Lillian Oliver finished with a win of their own.

Hopkins continued to follow the sweeping trend, as all Jays competing won their matches. Kashyap went undefeated at first, Simon won 6-1, 6-2 at second and Gerke continued the winning momentum at third. Gunewardena was able to finish out a close match 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 at fourth and freshmen Amanda Ruci and Sophie Saland finished with wins of their own.

The dominating victory against the Bullets did not tire the Jays out, as they went on to defeat the Loyola Greyhounds immediately after. The Blue Jays once again swept their doubles matches, with sophomore Dhanya Asokumar and senior Kimberly Zou opening the Division-I matchup with a win. Freshman Evelyn Chang and senior Katie Gauch followed with a 6-4 victory, and freshman Jessica Liang and junior Sophia Strickland closed out the full-day sweep at third.

Hopkins let their foot off the gas pedal when singles play came around but made sure to power through for the 4-3 victory. The teams ended up splitting the singles matches. Strickland and Zou fell at first and second respectively, but the Jays still had the 3-2 lead. 

Chang helped the Jays with a 6-2, 6-2 win, and Asokumar followed with a 6-3, 6-1 win of her own. Liang lost her match at fifth, but Gauch clinched the team win for the Jays in the end. She won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 at sixth to rally for the Jays. 

Zou reflected on the team’s recent matches and gave a shoutout to teammate Gauch for her securing the win for the Jays.

“We had two really great wins yesterday against Gettysburg and Loyola,” Zou said. “I think after yesterday, we’ve continued our winning streak of 13 matches in a row since playing Rice University. The win over Loyola University yesterday was especially exciting because they’re Division I and it was a close fight, with Katie Gauch clinching the win to make the score 4-3.”

The Jays are now 19-15 against the Bullets and 15-9 against the Greyhounds, with the last time Hopkins faced off against the Greyhounds dating back to 2003. With the Conference win, Hopkins clinches the top seed in next week’s Centennial Conference Tournament, meaning that the team is guaranteed to host on the Hopkins tennis courts. This will be the 13th straight year that the Jays have finished first in the regular season.

Zou was hopeful for the team’s ability to have a strong finish in the regular season.

“In the Centennial Conference, we only have Washington College left before the Championships, where we can hopefully continue our winning streak there as well,“ she said.

The men and women both play on Saturday, April 27 in their closing Conference matches, as the men face off Dickinson College and the women take on Washington College. 

Zou reflected on the season thus far, as the team has proven to be a competitive threat against their Division-III opponents.

“As a senior on the team, I’ve been part of many successful seasons, but I think this year has been one of the team’s best performances in the last four years,“ she said. “We have only lost one match in Division-III, which was against Skidmore in the beginning of the season, and have been on a winning streak since then, including beating Mary Washington, who was ranked above us.”

In addition to her high hopes for the regular season, Zou commented on the team’s potential in the post-season.

She expects the Blue Jays to make a deep run in this year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament. 

“Based on our success so far, I’m really optimistic going into the end of the season and NCAAs,” Zou said. 

“I think we have a really great chance of making the Elite Eight again and maybe even further this year, which would obviously be an amazing experience to leave Hopkins with right as I graduate.”

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