Now riding a four-match win streak after a 5-2 defeat of Binghamton Friday, the women’s tennis team is building momentum toward the important part of the season.
In singles, freshmen Alina Abdurakhimova, Yana Khon and Monet Stuckey-Willis each won in straight sets. Sophomore Anais Nussaume also added a singles point in her 6-0, 7-5 win.
The team got off to a good start in the match by winning each doubles match to earn a point.
“We started off strong in the match by earning the doubles point,” Mauro said. “Getting that point is always big because you then have the advantage in the match and you can carry momentum into singles, and the girls did that.”
Although the Owls won all of their doubles matches, Mauro said his doubles teams took a while to get going.
“We got off to a slow start again in doubles,” Mauro said. “It is important to get the early momentum and if we do, it will help our chances. We always start down in doubles by losing the first couple of games by making errors … we need to improve how we start.”
The Owls were defeated 6-1 by the Bearcats last season, and with the recruits he and his coaching staff added this year, Mauro is seeing a different team.
“Our recruiting class this year is doing a great job and I am happy with the freshmen that we have.”
The men’s team also played Friday and defeated Philadelphia University, 6-1. Temple bounced back after being shut out for the first time this season by No. 22 Penn State.
The Owls were strong in singles play, winning five matches in straight sets. Juniors Santiago Canete (6-2, 6-0), Ondre Cargill (6-2, 6-1) and Hicham Belkssir (6-0, 6-0) cruised in their matches. The Owls also earned singles points from sophomores Filip Stipcic, who won in 7-6(2), 6-0, and Vineet Naran (6-0, 6-2).
“We were solid in singles all-around,” Mauro said. “Hicham had a strong performance without losing a set. That win was important for him and we need him as one of our top players to compete in the tough [American Athletic Conference].”
The doubles performances were better than they have been due to a change in the second and third flight pairings.
Mauro changed the second-flight duo to Canete and Naran and switched the third flight to Cargill and junior Maros Januvka. Along with Belkssir and junior Nicolas Paulus, each pair won fairly easily.
On Saturday, the men’s team will play Wagner College (N.Y.), while the women’s team will play the University of Albany at the Upper Dublin Center. Both matches will kick off at 5:30 p.m.
Dalton Balthaser can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DaltonBalthaser.