The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s tennis kicks off regular season with decisive victory

Sophomore+Olivia+Boeckman+uses+the+forehand+during+the+Leopards+matchup.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+GoLeopards%29
Sophomore Olivia Boeckman uses the forehand during the Leopards’ matchup. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The Lafayette women’s tennis team began its regular season last Saturday, securing a 6-1 win against Coppin State University. Playing indoors at the Tennis Zone in Quakertown, Pa., Lafayette won the doubles point before going on to win five singles matches.

“It felt great to get out and compete again,” senior Eleanor Campbell said. “It is always the most fun part of the season. It really felt like all the practice time and hard work that we put in really paid off.”

The men’s tennis team was also scheduled to play Coppin State University, but the match was postponed due to Covid reasons.

“We were really ready to play,” junior Davis Esslinger said. “We have been working our asses off every single practice, so it was kind of heartbreaking that we couldn’t kick off our season this weekend.”

The women played three, one-set doubles matches before singles in a dual match. Winning two out of three doubles matches secures a doubles point. Both winning doubles matches came down to the wire, with the Leopards winning both 6-4. 

“I love seeing my teammates compete and do well. It also helps our confidence a ton,” Campbell said. “We have always been a close team, but competing and spending a ton of time together always helps bring us closer. The girls on this team are some of my best friends.”

Going into singles play, first singles sophomore Olivia Boeckman was trailing by a double-break in the first set. Boeckman, however, secured the first set 7-5 before going on to win the second set 6-2. A 2022 All Patriot-League second-team player, Boeckman won notable matches against Holy Cross, Colgate and Lehigh last year.

At second singles, senior Melanie Sparhawk cruised to 6-0 and 6-2 victories. Fourth singles freshman Carmen Merkel won by a similar scoreline, winning 6-1 and 6-0. Coppin State was able to win 6-2 and 6-3 at third singles, while Lafayette won matches at fifth and sixth singles.

With a 1-0 winning record, the women’s tennis team looks to improve its Patriot League standing and secure some close matches after hard-fought losses to league rivals Lehigh and Bucknell last year.

With returning starters and five new first-years on the roster, the team is going into this season with a stronger lineup.

“I thought the match was a good result for us. It will definitely be a confidence booster for the team,” head coach Ralph Van Ormer said. “We have a lot of talent on the team, so we’re all looking to see how everyone can contribute.”

Van Ormer also praised Sparhawk and Merkel for their strong performances, while highlighting the need to improve doubles play.

“We will have to get better at doubles if we want to win more matches,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we compete in our next match after getting this first win.”

The team’s out-of-conference schedule is about to ramp up in difficulty as it plays Fairfield and Sacred Heart in the next two matches.

“With the very skilled teams we have ahead of us, it will be a good wake-up call for us,” Esslinger said.

“The competition will be tough,” Campbell added. “However, I think our team is prepared. We are dedicated and working very hard.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams will travel to Fairfield University tomorrow for their first away match of the season.

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About the Contributor
Andreas Pelekis, Assistant News Editor
Tennis addict.

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