Tennis season opens to mixed start



Thangirala helped the Violets to victory at #1 doubles on Saturday.

Kyle Luther, Deputy Sports Editor

In the fall preseason, junior Carmen Lai and sophomore Laila El Dessouki were the ninth-ranked doubles team in the region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and validated their ranking with a solid 8-3 victory at number one doubles.

The women’s team fell behind early, losing 2-1 in doubles, but rebounded quickly by winning their first three singles matches. Lai, senior Mari Tzakas and El Dessouki all won in straight sets at one, two and three singles. The Violets took the 4-2 lead and wouldn’t give it up again.

“Staying focused and avoiding negative emotions and thoughts really helped me win the match,” Lai said. “I also paid attention to my opponent’s style of play in order to pit my strengths against my opponent’s weaknesses. It was a great start to our spring season. Hope that we can keep it up.”


In their first win of the season, junior Madeline King and freshman Nicole Schnabel built on their momentum by winning five straight sets.

“Once I was able to compose my nerves, the level of my game significantly improved, which led to my straight set win,” Schnabel said.

Due to the cancellation of the Middlebury Invitational, the next time the Violets will be seen on the court is during a home face off against University of Rochester on March 28.

Going into the season, the men’s team was ranked 30th in the country and 11th in the Northeast region by the ITA. The Violets have also had four consecutive winning seasons coming into the season.

The men’s team performed in opposite fashion to their female counterparts. The Violets took an early lead, winning both one and two doubles behind the performances of junior Sidd Thangirala and freshman Ian Combemale, who won first doubles 8-3. Senior Billy Smithline and freshman Karan Goyal also handily won second doubles, giving the Violets a 2-1 lead.

“It was definitely a close match and it felt good to get a leg up during the doubles,” Goyal said. “Unfortunately, the singles competition was tough and we couldn’t come up with a win.”

The Violets’ singles matches did not go as well. Despite straight set wins for freshman Samuel Khoshbin and junior Jiri Honojzer, the Violets were not able to win any more single matches. The 2-1 lead quickly disappeared as Swarthmore was able to win four out of the six singles matches giving them the victory.

“Swarthmore came out with a strong line up, and they made for close, competitive match,” Khoshbin said. “It hurts to lose like that in an opener, but I believe we’re going to use the experience as fuel for our upcoming match against Skidmore.”

Email Kyle Luther at [email protected].