Northwestern Ohio 5, Kenyon 4
University of Northwestern Ohio attained a 3-0 match lead after doubles and later prevailed 5-4 over the Kenyon men’s tennis team on Saturday at Westwood Tennis & Fitness Center.
Kenyon’s No. 1 and No. 2 doubles team each fell 8-4 while Nicholas Paolucci and Brian Yoshino fell in the third flight 9-8 and 7-4 in the tiebreaker.
Despite the slow start, the Lords fought back in singles play. Senior Weston Noall chalked up Kenyon’s first point as he cruised at the sixth flight by 6-1 and 6-3 scores. Next, sophomore Jacob Zalenksi won by identical 6-2 tallies against Iustin Baciu at No. 2.
Northwestern Ohio inched closer with its fourth match point at No. 5 singles as Marcos Salazar defeated Michael Liu 6-2, 6-3.
The Racers, ranked fifth in the NAIA, then clinched the match at No. 1. Radu Popa dropped the first set to Paolucci, 6-3, but won the second and third sets 7-5 and 6-3, respectively.
Despite falling behind for good, the Lords still got two more wins. Austin Diehl won at No. 3 over Artur Culicovschi 6-4 and 7-6 (7-5).
Kenyon’s final point came from freshman Bryan Yoshino. He claimed the first set in tiebreaker fashion over Gjorgji Popovski. Then after falling in the second 6-2 and injuring his right hand, the first-year player came back in the third and won 6-4.
Next on the schedule for Kenyon is a home date against Kalamazoo College on Saturday at 8 a.m. That will be followed by another match at 6:30 p.m. versus University of Mary Washington at Jasper Tennis Center.
Kenyon 5, Northwestern Ohio 4
If past seasons are an accurate gauge, then the Kenyon College women’s tennis team could be looking forward to a special season. Saturday, the Ladies leaned on strong singles play to pull out a thrilling 5-4 win over the Racers from University of Northwestern Ohio, a team they defeated just once in five previous matches dating back to 2013.
Kenyon, ranked as the No. 30 team in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division III poll, fell behind early, dropping two of three doubles matches to the Racers, who entered the match ranked as the No. 12 team in the most recent National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) coaches’ poll. The Ladies’ lone doubles win came in the No. 2 match, where junior Maggie Sweeney and senior Grace Winslow defeated Melena Lopez and Camila Puente, 8-2.
Trailing 2-1 in team points, the Ladies went to work in singles play. Freshman Erika Oku set the tone early, ringing up a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Valeriya Kolegova. Shortly after that, senior Diana Aboubakare gave Kenyon its first team lead (3-2) by polishing off Alisa Reshetnikova, 6-4, 6-4, in the No. 1 singles match.
The Racers (0-1) won two of the next three matches to even the team score at 4-4. Kenyon losses at No. 4 and No. 5 sandwiched a Sweeney victory at No. 3, a match in which she knocked off Lopez 6-2, 7-6.
That left everything up to the No. 6 match, where Kenyon junior Annie Reiner faced off against Frederique Span. Reiner took the first set 6-4, but Span came back to take the second, 6-3. Reiner then answered back and clinched the team win for the Ladies by winning the third and final set, 6-4.
The big win should give the Ladies (1-0) plenty of momentum as they head back home to host Kalamazoo College next Saturday.