Tennis Tries to Shake Off Winter Rust

Women's Tennis player Carmen Lai won consecutive perfect sets to start off the Violets' first spring match.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams opened their season last week with an away game against Swarthmore College. The women prevailed 6-3, while the men were overpowered by the 7th ranked Garnet, falling 8-1.

The women’s team started strong as senior Carmen Lai won consecutive perfect sets against Alli Wong. Freshman Fleura Shiyanova followed this up by beating Julia Gokhberg 6-1, 6-2. Fellow freshman Vanessa Scott made it three wins in a row for the Violets, knocking out Anna Scheibmeir 6-1, 6-1. With those wins, the ladies had all but ensured that the match would go the Violets’ way.

But after this, Swarthmore made a strong comeback bid. NYU senior captain Madeline King lost the first set against Arya Jamal 6-3, but won the second 6-4. This sent the match into a very close tiebreak, which Jamal won 11-9.

Swarthmore had a fairly easy time cutting the overall score to 3-2. NYU sophomore Nicole Schnabel lost Ashley Gao in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Another tight match ensued between NYU’s Jazmin Colling and Swarthmore’s Rachel Hechinger, as they split the first two sets before Hechinger won the tiebreaker 10-7.

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With their lead narrowing, the Violets stepped up in doubles play, sealing the slight upset of the 17th ranked team in the division by NYU, the 18th. Lai and Shiyanova beat Wong and Gokhberg 8-4, while Scott and junior Laila El Dessouki beat Gao and Rachel Bronkema 8-5. King and Schnabel beat Anna Scheibmeir and Abby Schmidt 9-7. Though she is inexperienced in doubles play, Shiyanova was confident the Violets would pull through.

“I can control my game better in singles rather than in doubles,” Shiyanova said. “Plus it was the first time I’ve played with my doubles partner Carmen Lai. I’m sure then our next match will be much better. Looking forward to it.”

Unfortunately, things were much more glum for the NYU men. Swarthmore won the first four singles matches, with Violet freshman Benedict Teoh losing to Mark Fallati 6-3, 6-4 and sophomore Samuel Khoshbin dominated by John Larkin 6-0, 6-1. After that, NYU junior Matt DeMichiel dropped a close match to Ari Cepelewicz 7-5, 7-6 and Violet sophomore was bested by Simon Vernier 6-3, 6-4.

Men’s tennis got its only victory of the day courtesy of freshman Yanik Parsch, who beat John Powell 7-6, 6-4. But the pattern continued as Swarthmore’s Michael Song beat junior Sammy Aronson 6-1, 6-0.

Doubles did not go much better for the team. Tech and Aronson fell to Fallati and Powell 8-5, and DeMichiel and Parsch were defeated by Cepelewicz and Vernier 8-5. Finally, Khoshbin and freshman Shrikar Kundur were beaten by Larkin and Blake Oetting to finish off a day of defeat for the men’s team.

The women have their next match on March 4 against William Smith College in Geneva, New York, while the men will play next against Skidmore College in Saratoga Spring on March 5.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 29 print edition. Email Tony Schwab at [email protected]

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