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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Tennis teams debut at Bucknell Invitational

Sophomore Jake Magnusson gets set to receive in the first round of the Bucknell Invitational. (Photo by Hannah Ally for GoLeopards)

Last weekend, the men’s and women’s tennis teams kicked off the 2023-2024 season at the Bucknell Invitational. 

Lafayette, Bucknell, Mount St. Mary’s and St. Francis were featured in the three-day event. The men’s tournament saw eight round-robin brackets, while the women’s tournament featured four.

The men’s team went 1-7 overall across singles play on day one featuring most of its lineup. However, in doubles play, the Leopards faired much better.

Saturday saw the Leopards go 2-1 in doubles matches. Junior Arman Ganchi and sophomore Jake Magnusson were a towering first and second singles combo in the 2022-2023 season. The two paired up in doubles for a 6-4 win over a Saint Francis duo. Magnusson then lost 7-6 (3) 6-7 (5) 1-0 (6) to Gregory Troyan from Saint Francis.

This momentum continued into Sunday as Ganchi picked up a 5-7 6-2 1-0 (6) win over Mount St. Mary’s junior Filippos Zachiotis. Magnusson cruised in straight sets 6-4 6-1, while sophomore Sam Gelber fell in a 6-3 6-3 loss.

The standout performer of the weekend was first-year Derrin Lerner. A former four-year starter and All-South Jersey player at Cherry Hill High School, Lerner won three matches to win the Black Group in the tournament. Lerner did not drop a set all weekend. 

“I definitely didn’t expect to do as well as I did,” Lerner said. “But I think as a first tournament, it definitely surpassed some expectations. The college energy is just so much higher than high school. You have to have that spirit.”

All three of Lerner’s victories came against Mount St Mary’s, with the first-year clinching his final match 6-0 6-4. Lerner is a recent walk-on to the team.

“I was nervous about coming into college with the walk-on process because it’s really something to work for,” Lerner said. “But everyone’s so accepting and the coach is great.” 

On the women’s side, only first-year players were available due to scheduling constraints. Friday saw all four first-years make their collegiate debuts, featuring a 6-4 6-2 win from Mia Hernandez. Hernandez would eventually go 2-1 in singles over the weekend. Hanna Ganchi, younger sister of men’s first singles Arman Ganchi, fell 5-7 6-2 1-0 (6) after a tight match tiebreak. 

“I have played hundreds of matches throughout my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous!” Hanna Ganchi wrote in an email. “My coaches and amazing teammates were so helpful while I was on the court, and it really helped me calm my nerves.”

Saturday saw doubles action begin, as Hanna Ganchi and Hernandez won 7-5 against a Saint Francis duo. Hernandez followed that success up with a 6-3 6-2 win in singles later that day. 

The final day of the women’s tournament saw the other new stars on the team shine. In doubles, first-years Stella Dodd and Ally Bauer clinched a 6-2 win over a Mount St. Mary’s duo. Dodd followed that up with a 6-1 6-3 win over Mount St. Mary’s player Polina Buckhard, clenching her first-ever collegiate singles win.

“It was really exciting playing for Lafayette for the first time,” Dodd said. “A goal I have for the season is to become better at doubles because doubles is super important for beating a school.”

Head coach Ralph Van Ormer could not be reached for comment. This is Van Ormer’s seventh year as head coach of both programs. Senior Davis Esslinger, junior William Woolley, junior Olivia Boeckman and sophomore Alyssa Perdomo will lead the team as captains this season.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will continue their fall season at the Villanova Invitational next weekend.

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

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