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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Tennis teams serve up success in Florida, split home matches

Sophomore Carmen Merkel rockets a forehand during the Leopards’ win over Fairfield University. (Photo by Trent Weaver for GoLeopards)

The men’s and women’s tennis teams had an eventful spring break week, traveling to Kissimmee, Florida to compete in matches almost every day against competition from all over the country. The Leopards ended the week with a home matchup against Fairfield University on Sunday, in which the women prevailed and the men fell.

“Spring break was huge for us to bond with each other,” sophomore Carmen Merkel said. “We have a small team, so being close has to be an asset to our team, which it is. We are all very close, even though the distribution of people per grade is different.”

The Leopards played four matches over the seven days they spent in Florida. Both the teams went 3-1 during the trip down south.

“The spring break trip was amazing for team chemistry,” sophomore Sam Gelber said. “All nine of us were living in the same house together and eating team meals together. I think it definitely translated into how we played on the court. We played more as a unit, instead of fixating only on our individual matches.”

The men, who have struggled in the early part of their season, fell in their first match of the break on Wednesday to Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis 7-0 but refused to be dejected, quickly rebounding to dominate Colby-Sawyer College 6-1 later that day. They continued their winning ways by beating Bentley University 5-2 on Thursday and followed that up with a win over Ithaca College on Friday by the same score.

The women came out swinging, beating the University of Sioux Falls on Wednesday 6-1 and returning the next day to dominate Bentley 7-0. They dropped their only match of the break in their second competition of the day on Thursday, falling to Emporia State by a score of 4-3. They then returned to the win column on Friday, inching past Ithaca by a score of 4-3.

“The constant competition towards the end of the week got us in the right mindset, and learning how to support each other on the court set us up,” Merkel said.

Following the team’s return from Florida, the Leopards played host to Fairfield University. The women carried the confidence of the break into their matchup, defeating the Stags 4-3.

“I think we went in with a lot of energy beforehand, knowing we had to bring our best,” Merkel said. “We were not expecting a win or a loss, but just to bring the energy and see where that got us and play our best because we knew we were capable.”

Merkel noted the additional confidence boost of playing on home courts.

On the men’s side, the group struggled to carry over the momentum of the break as the fatigue of travel set in, falling to the Stags by a 7-0 score.

“The break prepared us for the match but it was also tough after a full week of matches,” Gelber said. “Traveling Saturday and playing Sunday after playing four the last week was tough. We were definitely not as fresh as if we played them at the beginning of the week. In hindsight this was a good matchup to prepare us for a tough conference matchup — we have a tough doubleheader coming up.”

The women will host Villanova University today, then both teams will travel to face Army West Point on Saturday and The College of the Holy Cross on Sunday.

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About the Contributor
Charlie Berman, Sports Editor
VAP, TRELL, KEHD (cheast, stew, help)

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