For the first time in 364 days, the men’s tennis team won a conference match by defeating Connecticut, 6-1.
The team’s last conference win came against Connecticut on March 29, 2014. The Huskies are the only conference opponent the Owls have defeated since their move to the American Athletic Conference in 2013.
In singles, juniors Santiago Canete (6-4, 6-2), Nicolas Paulus (6-2, 6-2) and Ian Glessing (6-3, 6-1) cruised in their matches to gain the advantage against the Huskies. Sophomores Filip Stipcic (4-6, 6–4, 10–5) and Vineet Naran, who won with identical scores of 6-1, 6-1 also contributed singles points.
“Santiago won pretty easily in the first flight,” coach Steve Mauro said. “His biggest attribute this season outside of his fitness is his ability to keep balls in play. His backhand is his strength and he used [his backhand] well today. He is becoming more of an all-court player, which he has improved on from his freshman year. He is getting a lot more free points at the net also.”
The Owls won the doubles point by winning at the second and third flight. The duo of Canete and Naran won a close match at the second flight with a 6–4 victory. The new pairing of Glessing and junior Ondre Cargill dominated with a score of 6–2. The grouping of junior Hicham Belkssir and Paulus lost to the Huskies 6-3.
“I was happy with the new doubles pairing of Ondre and Ian,” Mauro said. “Ondre was making a lot of returns and they seem to have good chemistry. I really like that pairing going forward.”
The women’s tennis team came out of a hard-fought match on the wrong side, losing to Connecticut, 4-3.
In singles, freshman Monet Stuckey-Willis continued her solid play with a 6-2, 6-4 victory. The freshman now has 15 singles wins on the year.
The Owls only recorded one singles point outside of Stuckey-Willis. Alina Abdurakhimova continued her strong freshman year in a 6-4, 3-6, 6–4 victory.
The Owls dominated Connecticut in the doubles matches Saturday, winning all three, two with ease. The duos of Stuckey-Willis and sophomore Anais Nussaume as well as Abdurakhimova and sophomore Dina Karina, dominated with scores of 6-3, and 6-1, respectively.
Temple added another doubles win from junior Minami Okajima and sophomore Mariana Bedon in a 6-5(4) victory.
“We played really well in doubles today,” Mauro said. “We started out strong in the match and we knew that Connecticut had strong doubles teams. We kept a lot more balls in play. We were able to put the points away at the net. I was happy that we won each doubles match.”
Freshman Yana Khon sustained a sprained ankle at practice this week and Mauro said that the women’s team needs to rest its nagging injuries. He also said Khon might return in about two weeks.
The women’s team will host Rider at the Student Pavilion on March 31, while the men’s team will have a week off before traveling to Navy on April 4.