Women’s tennis notches first wins

Ben Resnick, Staff Reporter

The 20th-ranked women’s tennis team earned its first two victories of the 2017 season, defeating 34th-ranked Hope College 6-3 and Kalamazoo College 9-0 at the Cleveland Skating Club this past weekend.

The Spartans improved to 2-1 on the season with the wins, while Hope dropped to 1-2 and Kalamazoo dropped to 0-3 this season.

“There was a lot of growth from our [Cleveland State University] match in only a week,” said Head Coach Kristen Gambrell. “Our doubles were executing at a much higher level along with more focus and determination in the singles matches.”

Against Hope, CWRU got off to a quick lead, taking two of the three doubles matches. The victorious doubles pairings were third-year student Nithya Kanagasegar and second-year student Jessica Liu, who won the first doubles match 8-5, and third-year student Peyton Young and first-year student Kendal Holladay, who picked up an 8-5 win at second doubles. The Spartans’ doubles loss came in the third match, when third-year student Nina Cepeda and first-year student Katie Busch suffered an 8-6 defeat.

The Spartans carried the momentum from doubles to win four of the six single matches. Kanagasegar earned a 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) victory at first singles, while Cepeda claimed a 6-3, 6-4 victory at fourth singles. In the fifth singles match, Young picked up a 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victory and first-year student Katrin Gurvich defeated her opponent 6-2, 6-0 in the sixth singles contest.

The Spartans turned in a complete sweep against Kalamazoo. In doubles action, the pairings of Kanagasegar and Liu won 8-4 at first doubles, Young and Holladay claimed an 8-2 victory in the second doubles match, and Cepeda and fourth-year student Kennedy Mulholland completed the doubles sweep with an 8-1 win in the third doubles match.

The good play continued in singles action. Kanagasegar, Holladay, Liu, Young, Gurvich and Busch all won their matches against Kalamazoo opponents.

Gambrell was very excited with the way her team played, especially with Kanagasegar and the first-year team members.

“Nithya [Kanagasegar] did an awesome job of leading our team at the top spot. Her energy and intensity radiates down through the rest of the team which is a huge asset for us,” said Gambrell.

She added that a huge reason her team stepped up this weekend was the first-year players beginning to perform up to their potential.  

It was not just Gabrell who thought Kanagasegar did well. Because of her excellent play in both singles and doubles matches, she was named University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week for women’s tennis.

The team will have this coming weekend off from competition. The Spartans will then continue the season as they travel to Allegheny College on Saturday, March 4 and the University of Rochester on Sunday, March 5.