Lafayette tennis teams have strong showing at men’s and women’s Siena Invitational

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The Lafayette tennis teams compete in back-to-back invitationals. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Craig Barbaro

The Lafayette tennis teams competed in back-to-back invitationals this past Friday and Saturday, with the Bucknell invitational kicking off the weekend and followed by the Siena Invitational. Lafayette had 19 members competing among both teams, with a total of seven teams each competing in the men’s and women’s divisions.

The women’s division included host Siena, Seton Hall, Rider, Niagara, Colgate, St. Francis Brooklyn and Lafayette. Men’s tennis competed against host Siena, RPI, Niagara, St. Francis Brooklyn, Rider and Long Island University.

On the men’s side, the Leopards notched three single wins and one doubles win. Sophomore Davis Esslinger, junior Josh Wolfe and senior Ross Coleman all picked up singles wins for Lafayette.

“Personally, I felt like I played well, but I was held back due to my fitness and lack of concentration at key moments in the tournament,” Wolfe said. “However, my opponent who I lost to in singles ended up winning the tournament, and I feel I am close to his level of play and can be better than him.”

Coleman and Esslinger took the doubles match for the men’s side, defeating Rider’s duo 6-0.

“As a team, I think we improved from our tournament at Bucknell, but we have to be better in the key moments and keep a strong mentality and attitude for the duration of each match,” Wolfe added. “I believe we are just as good as the other teams in the tournament, but they just simply compete and act better than us right now.”

The women’s team showed up and showed out, taking 14 singles matches and three doubles matches. Senior Maureen McCormack, freshman Olivia Boeckman, senior Cecelia Lesnick, junior transfer Eleanor Campbell, junior Jessica Siegal, junior Melanie Sparhawk and junior Halle Denardo all won singles matches. McCormack, Boeckman, Siegel and Denardo won multiple matches.

“I felt I competed well,” McCormack said. “Having Bucknell as the first tournament really allowed me to get the first couple of matches under my belt so at Siena I could work on other aspects of my game. I had high-quality matches at Siena and was happy to put the stuff I had been working on in practice into play.”

McCormack and Campbell defeated Rider University’s double pair 7-6 while Lesnick and Boeckman defeated a different Rider duo 6-4 and a duo from Niagara University 6-1.

“Over the summer, I trained intensively. Outside of my summer internship, I was playing five times a week and doing strength training as well,” McCormack said. “I did take more time off than I expected but I think it made my game better as every time I came onto the court, I was focused and appreciative of the time and ability to be out there.”

McCormack notched three victories total, including two doubles wins and one singles win. A large part of her success early this year is thanks to her work on and off the court throughout the summer to stay in shape.

“The team has amazed me this year,” McCormack added. “The freshmen we brought in, along with our transfer Eleanor [Campbell ’23], have truly brought Lafayette tennis to a new height. The last two tournaments and at practice, everyone is giving it their all and having fun.”

The men’s tennis team takes on Rider University on Oct. 9 for their next match while the women’s team faces off against Stetson University on Sept. 24.

“I believe a big goal for this season is to win more than one match in the Patriot League, but I also want teams to be afraid to face us when we come up on their schedule and not chalk us off as an easy win,” Wolfe said.