October 19, 2012 by kofi.biney
Strong showings by the Drexel men’s and women’s tennis teams in recent invitationals have the teams going confidently to ITA Regionals this weekend in New Haven, Conn. Three players for the men’s team (juniors Skyler Davis and Alex Fioravante along with freshman Xavier Saavedra) and two players for the women (juniors Zeynep Mafa and Marcela Rosales) have qualified for the ITA Regionals, while other players have performed up to a high standard this season as well.
Most recently, the Hampton Roads Invitational Oct.5 saw the Dragons perform very well as the Doubles Flight One team of Mafa (who went to semifinals in her individual series) and Rosales won their series, and the Doubles Flight Three team of Junior Alex Bell and sophomore Aysenil Orhon finished third in their series.
The Drexel men also put in a great performance. For starters, they dominated in the doubles matches, winning Flight Two and also taking second and third in Flight One. Individually speaking, there was success for sophomore Dan Koehler as he won his Flight Two singles series, and last year’s freshman sensation Badr Ouabdelmoumen advanced all the way to the semifinals of Flight One.
Furthermore, the Drexel women also won their first competitive match of the season Oct.14 against Monmouth University, although the word “won” sounds like a more simplistic way of describing affairs. The Dragons put on a clean 7-0 sweep of Monmouth, winning all three doubles matches and all six singles matches. It was a repeat of last year’s meeting between the two sides, when Drexel defeated them by the exact same result.
Drexel was supposed to play against Rider University the following day, but the matches were postponed due to inclement weather.
Next comes the team’s first test of the season in the form of the USTA/ITA Northeast Regional Championship, being held on the campus of Yale University in New Haven. The five players to represent the Dragons are, in the opinion of first-year head coach Mehdi Rhazali, the best he has to offer out of a very good bunch.
“It’s going well,” Rhazali said before the regionals. “It’s our first competitive matches. We’ve been going somewhere every weekend. We win at least one draw every event.
And as far as the rest of the way is concerned, Rhazali is enthusiastic about that as well.
“We’re very excited, and we’re looking forward to making things bigger this season and hopefully building a tradition here not just now but in the long run.”