March 09, 2012 by Bobby Davies
The Drexel University men’s tennis team got back into the win column March 3, snapping its three-match losing streak with a 7-0 victory over the Wagner College Seahawks.
The men began the day with a strong showing in doubles play, sweeping the three matches with relative ease. Despite a less competitive opponent in Wagner, each doubles pair maintained a high level of play and fought for every singles point, a style that has become the hallmark of this team.
The Dragons used this match as an opportunity to work on parts of their game that they often emphasize in practice.
“They took care of business and focused on the little things we have been working on, such as returns, serve placement and positioning on the court,” assistant coach Mehdi Rhazali said of his team. “I think they all did a great job.”
The No. 3 doubles team of freshmen Badr Ouabdelmoumen and Dan Koehler particularly impressed the coaches in an 8-1 rout of their opponent. They showed noticeable improvement in their communication and positioning, two crucial elements in a doubles match.
Drexel followed up a sweep of doubles with a 6-0 sweep of singles as well. Similar to the doubles matches, the Dragons showed supreme effort and refused to play down to their opponents. Each player performed well and left the match with many positives to be recognized. Breaking down the successful aspects of every match is important, as each one is a potential steppingstone to greater success.
Freshman Koehler’s hard work all season paid off at No. 5, as he won his first match of the year in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.
“His style put a lot of pressure on the opponent,” Rhazali explained. “Dan has a great net game that helps him stay in control of the point. I was happy for him winning his first match of the season.”
Meanwhile, junior Jeganathan Srinivasan and sophomore Skyler Davis gained confidence and returned to winning records with their 6-2, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-1 wins at No. 2 and No. 4 singles, respectively. At No. 1 singles, Ouabdelmoumen won the first set before his opponent retired due to arm pain in the second.
Earlier the same day, the Drexel women’s tennis team defeated the Wagner women’s team in similar fashion to the men, shutting them out 7-0.
The Dragons were dominant in doubles play, as they won all three contests by large margins and promptly took a lead in the team competition, which they would never give up. The ladies played a high caliber of tennis throughout every match despite little resistance from their opponent. The duo of sophomore Marcela Rosales and senior Elise Leizerovich led the way for the Dragons with an 8-1 win at No. 2.
The team stresses the importance of winning the doubles matches in order to gain an early lead in the team scoring.
“We have been working on our doubles game a lot, and the improvement is evident,” assistant coach Filip Kricka said. “Our goal is to win every doubles point for the remainder of the season. The key in doubles is to play smart, and that’s exactly what the girls are doing.”
The Dragons continued to play great tennis in the singles matches, where they swept their opponents in straight sets, losing only five games in all. Each Drexel player contributed to this thrashing by overwhelming her opposition with relative ease. Sophomore Zeynep Mafa led the effort with a shutout at No. 2. That was not the only shutout on the day, however, as senior Sonja Stosic and freshman Nicole Pivonka recorded their own in the No. 1 and No. 6 matches, respectively.
At No. 5, sophomore Alex Bell ran away from her opposition in a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Leizerovich won by the same score at No. 4, and Rosales capped off the day with a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 3.
The women will look to continue their solid play when they host the Towson University Tigers March 10 at the Drexel Armory. The Dragons will be especially motivated for this match after a tough loss against the Tigers last year. This meeting takes on increased importance, as it marks the beginning of conference play for Drexel, meaning the outcome will help determine the Dragons’ seed in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in April.