Women’s Tennis Drops Two, Men Shut Out Niagara

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Julie Tarallo

Despite two hard fought matches last week­end, the Colgate Women’s Tennis team was defeated by St. Bonaventure and Rochester in back-to-back matches Saturday and Sunday. The Raiders first travelled to St. Bonaventure, NY on Saturday February 12 and fell to the Bonnies in a close 4-3 loss. The next day, the women matched up against the Rochester Yellowjackets and were edged in a 5-4 heartbreaker. This moves the team to a 0-4 overall record this season with optimism for improvement as the spring season heats up. Victory was sweet for the men’s team, however, as they handily shut out Niagara twice in a row this past weekend in Sanford Field House.

Saturday the Raiders found success early on in the competition, after winning three singles matches against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. Rookie Alex Petrini won at No. 2 with a straight set win at 6-0 and 6-2 while classmate Beck Sil­vers was also victorious, defeating SBU freshman Meredith Haggerty 6-7 and 6-0 at No. 6. Senior Jen Marquit continued her winning streak at No. 5, winning two sets at 6-3 and 6-2. Despite the squad’s successes, they were unable to over­come three close losses in doubles.

The team next travelled to Rochester, NY on Sunday, where they faced the strong Yellowjack­ets in their home opener at Goergen Athletic Complex. Jen Marquit and Becky Silvers con­tinued to play well, winning the third doubles match in a 9-7 nail biter. Unfortunately, their successes were insufficient to make up two earli­er doubles losses, costing the Raider’s yet another important point for the win.

In singles, Colgate picked up three key wins against Rochester. Freshman Kelsey Shea re­grouped from a 3-6 loss in her first match to win the last two 6-3 and 6-2 in her first col­legiate victory. Jen Marquit and Becky Silvers continued to dominate, defeating their oppo­nents in just two matches. Despite Colgate’s victories, the Raiders were unable to make up the early doubles deficit and fell in a crushing 4-3 loss.

“We lost some close matches but put up a really good fight.” Marquit explained. “We have a young team but we’re in every match and can do really well the rest of the season.”

With a talented pool of underclass­men and an experienced class of veter­ans, the Raiders anticipate a successful spring season.

The women also hope to improve upon their Patriot League ranking, after being picked to fin­ish sixth at the Championships later this spring. With strong leadership from senior captain Stephanie Bender and junior captain Stephanie Brown, the Raiders are poised for success

For their part, the men’s tennis team demon­strated its strength this Saturday after winning two straight shutouts over Niagara at Sanford Field House in a decisive 7-0 victory. The Raiders defended their home turf with convincing force after falling to Niagara last spring.

Colgate set the tone for the most of the com­petition, dominating doubles play with three straight victories, earning them an important doubles point. The sophomore duo of Alec Goldstein and Parker Lewis secured its second victory of the season, 8-5, while the pair of senior captains, Phil Bernasek and Ruslan Goussiat­nikov demolished its Purple Eagle competitors in an 8-1 win. Securing the doubles point for the Raiders, rookie Luke Gensburg and junior Sean Spellberg took down their opponents in a decisive 8-2 finish.

With momentum from the stellar doubles play, the men continued their winning streak, never giving up a set. Freshman Gensburg played at No. 1, winning in just two sets 6-4, 6-4. Classmate Bobby Berkowitz followed Gens­burg’s lead, also winning two straight sets 6-2, 6-2. Goussiatnikov matched Berkowitz, taking down Niagara junior David Lemieux- Sarrasit 6-2, 6-2 while fellow captain Bernasek secured the singles victory for the Raiders in a 6-2, 7-5 win.

With victory in place, junior Connor Feuille and sophomore John Beam captured two wins for the raiders in shortened eight-game pro sets. Feuille defeated his opponent 8-2, while Beam won 8-1.

Head Coach Bobby Pennington was thrilled with the Raiders’ dominance, crediting the team’s success to its overall drive and heart. “Af­ter losing 6-1 last year to Niagara, Saturday’s shut out shows how far our guys have come. We were razor sharp and played with precision, focus and maturity.”

The men rest this weekend and return to ac­tion Saturday, March 5 at 2 p.m. when they host the Siena College Lil’ Saints at Sanford Field House. They seek to continue their dominance on their home turf and improve upon their fifth place Patriot League ranking. The women will play next against Le Moyne at home this Saturday at 11 a.m.