April 25, 2014 by Nebi Mema
The Drexel tennis teams returned home from the Colonial Athletic Association Championships held in Richmond, Va. after getting bounced in the quarterfinals. The women’s and men’s squads lost to The College of William & Mary and James Madison University, respectively.
The men’s team was shut out by No. 4 James Madison, 4-0, marking the second time the Dukes have beaten the Dragons this season. James Madison narrowly won a late March match against Drexel, 4-3. In the quarterfinals match this past weekend, the Dragons couldn’t break through.
In the doubles games, they lost two of the three matches. Doubles partners junior Alex Fioravante and sophomore Xabier Saavedra lost narrowly, 8-7. The Dragons evened up the score courtesy of an 8-5 win from senior Skyler Davis and junior Dan Koehler, but the streak was halted at one as the Dukes won the final doubles match.
In the singles matches, James Madison players consistently held off their Dragon counterparts. Junior Badr Ouabdelmoumen lost in straight sets in the first match, 6-4, 6-1, and Davis and Saavedra went on to lose their singles matches in straight sets as well. Overall, the men’s team finished the season with a 9-8 record, going 6-2 at home.
Meanwhile, the women’s team fell to No. 3 William & Mary, 4-2. Senior doubles teammates Zeynep Mafa and Marcela Rosales got the team off to a great start when they defeated their opponents, 8-6. The Dragons claimed the doubles point in the next match when sophomore Erin Bowsher and junior Nicole Pivonka defeated their Tribe opponents, 8-2.
However, William & Mary stormed back in the singles matches, winning four of five.
Mafa lost the first singles match in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Drexel continued on to drop the next three matches until Bowsher claimed the only singles point for the Dragons in the final match when she won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1.
The women’s team concluded its season with an impressive 13-4 record, which saw a 10-1 record at home and a 12-match stretch that saw 10 wins and only two losses.
With the last chapter on the tennis season finally closed, head coach Mehdi Rhazali shared his early outlook for next season.
“Looking ahead, we are recruiting three guys, two freshmen and one transfer,” Rhazali said. “On the women’s [side,] we are recruiting four freshmen. Some of the goals are to work on our chemistry and keep a strong team culture. [We need to] focus on strength and conditioning and take care of our bod[ies] in order to prevent injuries during season.”
He discussed goals for next season as well.
“Off court the goal is to do well academically and lead by example when it comes to maturity and personality,” Rhazali said.
He continued, “Winning the doubles point versus William & Mary shows that we should believe more and that everything is possible as long as we are more mentally invested to the match preparation and control the emotions and fight for every point.”