The Elizabethtown College women’s and men’s tennis teams had an extremely demanding but rewarding weekend. With three matches at Etown and two away at LVC, the pressure was on for both teams to perform at their best.
The women’s team started off their winning streak by defeating Division I La Salle with a score of 5-4 on Thursday afternoon. On Saturday afternoon, at the LVC Tennis Complex in Annville, the women’s and men’s tennis teams once again defeated the Flying Dutchmen. The women’s team finished with a score of 6-3, and the men’s team completed the match with a victory of 8-1. The women’s team continued their winning streak by defeating Salisbury University with a score of 6-3. Unfortunately, the men’s tennis team lost against Salisbury, ending the match 6-3.
With three straight winning matches, the women’s tennis team was feeling extremely confident. First-year Kaitlyn Pellegrino stated, “[We have] performed great so far! We only dropped two matches … overall we have a winning record.”
The women’s tennis team plundered Division I La Salle at the double matches, which earned the women’s team their victory. The Jays won two of three double plays with juniors Allison Burkhardt and Madison Pipkin winning 8-5 over La Salle’s double parings. Success for Etown’s women’s team was clinched when first-years and doubles partners Christine Evangelista and Pellegrino finished their match with a score of 8-2.
“This is the best year for me because I’m a freshman, but last year we made it to nationals, and so far our performance is repeating itself, and, hopefully, we will make it there again this year,” Pellegrino said.
History can and does repeat itself, as was demonstrated when the women’s tennis team received its second Commonwealth Conference triumph of the season and secured a win over Lebanon Valley. The singles play guaranteed a swift victory for the Blue Jays (10-2, 2-0 CC) against their opponent. Evangelista and junior Kristi Noecker were the most victorious players on the tennis court; both won two matches.
For the men’s tennis team, senior Manrique Arrea, attempting to beat the school’s record of Brok Walker’s 114 wins, stated, “We beat Lebanon Valley, which is supposed to be our toughest opponent in our Conference this year, so that was a big win for us.” The men’s tennis team was virtually undefeated, stealing all six singles matches and two of the three double plays (7-5, 2-0 CC).
Juniors Billy Freitag and Eric Fritzges both have hit their tenth singles wins of the year, and Etown now has five players with double-digit wins. As stated on etownbluejays.com, it is the second time in the last three seasons that the Jays have had five players with 10 or more wins.
“We practice every day, and last year we made it to the finals, and I think we can do that again this year. The only thing we can do is play hard and see what happens,” junior Josh Riehl said of the wins.
The men’s team played on Sunday afternoon but lost a close game against Salisbury at the Alumni Courts, scoring a disappointing 6-3 loss. Despite the defeat, the team displayed perseverance through the victories from Arrea and Fritzges which helped the Jays tie the match at three; however the last three singles matches were won by Salisbury.
On the other hand, the women’s team wrapped up their winning weekend with a major victory against Salisbury, the 16th-ranked team in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Atlantic South Region. The final score was 6-3. This was the fourth consecutive win last weekend and the second time this season that the team won against a nationally ranking team.
Etown faces yet another challenge on Thursday when they head to Lycoming College for a Commonwealth Conference match. With both teams’ outstanding performances last week, the women’s and men’s teams are being held to high expectations.