Tennis teams continue to improve
By Lily Gordon
Published on Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The Dartmouth men’s and women’s tennis teams were back in action this weekend, with the women securing two wins to embark on a three-game winning streak and the men splitting its two weekend matchups.
After losing its season opener to Boston College on Jan. 19, the Big Green women’s team (3-1, 0-0 Ivy) turned its season around, beginning with a win over University of Wisconsin 6-1 on Friday at the Boss Tennis Center. Dartmouth came out strong in doubles action as Katherine Yau ’16 and Akiko Okuda ’15 won 8-5 in No. 1 doubles and Melissa Matsuoka ’14 and Sarah Bessen ’16 won 8-1 in No. 2 doubles.
In singles, the Big Green was a force to be reckoned with, winning five matches in straight sets. Janet Liu ’15, Yah, Okuda, Matsuoka and Bessen each scored points for Dartmouth.
Bessen said it was exciting to win against Wisconsin (1-3, 0-0 Big Ten), a strong team in a large national conference.
“Our team is relatively young and I think we’re all becoming more comfortable playing with each other and learning how to compete together as a team,” she said.
After Friday’s standout performance, the women returned to the Boss Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon to defeat the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 6-1.
For the first time this season, the team swept doubles play. At No. 1 doubles, Yau and Okuda won 8-7 after facing a 7-3 deficit. Bessen and Matsuoka easily won No. 2 doubles 8-0 and at No. 3 doubles Suzy Tan ’16 and Julienne Keong ’16 won 8-4.
“Everyone was really excited, especially coach Bob [Dallis], who always stresses the importance for us to win the double points because we start out with doubles so winning the first point is key,” Keong said.
Contributing to Dartmouth’s success, Yau, Okuda, Liu, Matsuoka and Tan each defeated their opponents in singles action.
Dallis was pleased with his team’s overall performance and has encouraged players to view tennis as a team sport.
“Certainly everybody’s a little different,” Dallis said. “Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. But the one thing we do talk about as a team is what energy level can you bring, how hard can you compete, how can you encourage your teammates to do better and how do you react when it doesn’t go your way.”
This team-oriented style of play has proven successful as the women’s team continues in its success this season.
Keong, who joined the Big Green this year, noted the different mentality in college tennis.
“In Juniors you don’t know anyone and you’re only playing for yourself,” Keong said. “But now you’re playing for something bigger than just yourself. You’re playing for your school and your teammates.”
This Friday, the women’s team travels to New York City, looking to extend its winning streak at the ECAC tournament hosted by Columbia University.
“We’re not preparing any differently,” Dallis said. “We really try to prepare for everything very similarly and ask ourselves how are we going to get better as a team.”
On the men’s side, the Big Green (1-3, 0-0 Ivy) won its first match of the season on Friday against Old Dominion, 4-3 at the Boss Tennis Center.
Dartmouth took two of the three doubles matches, with Cameron Ghorbani ’14 and Brendan Tannenbaum ’16 coming back from a 3-6 deficit to win 8-7 in No. 1 doubles and Brandon DeBot ’14 and Xander Centenari ’13 winning 8-5 in No. 2 doubles.
Chris Kipouras ’15 and Erik Nordahl ’16 won their matches in No. 3 and No. 4 singles to clinch the victory for the Big Green.
Last Sunday the men’s team hit the road for the first time this season and lost to Indiana University, 1-6. Far from home in Bloomington, Ind., the Big Green was only able to score one point in the three doubles matches. Ghorbani and Tannenbaum scored a 9-8 (8-6) victory.
In singles action, Sam Todd ’15 was the only member of the team to win a match, defeating Indiana’s Chris Essick 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 in the No. 6 spot.
“Even though we lost we took a lot of things out of it,” Todd said. “We can learn from Indiana and build off our experience against them. On top of that, the biggest thing we can build on as a team is our conditioning and staying tough as a team.”
The men’s team looks to improve its record this Friday when it hosts Binghamton University and Boston University in its first double-header of the season, before taking on Boston College at home on Sunday.