Proven to be contenders

Written by Sarah Joseph

Mens tennis team prepares for the rest of the season

The St. Joe’s men’s tennis team prevailed at St. Francis College on Feb. 10 with a 5-2 home win.

The team earned 68 points in the singles events, compared to St. Francis’ 48 points. For doubles, St. Joe’s had a total of 19 points, St. Francis having only 9. The Hawks scored a total of 87 points. St. Francis put up 57 points.

Each doubles team won against their St. Francis competitors. Sophomore Beekman Schaeffer and senior Tim Stierle went up against Pablo Blasco-Torres and Javier Navarro of St. Francis and  closed the match with a score of 6-3.

The pair of junior Andre Fick and senior Nick Ringle, along with senior Peter Dewitt and freshman Johnnie Massart won their matches with scores of 7-6 and 6-0, respectively allowing for the doubles teams to remain undefeated in their matches against St. Francis.

“We are still early in season and still trying out different combination for doubles. I think we got the makings of getting there. Finding that right chemistry between the players along with the talent mix is the challenge,” said  Ian  Crookenden, the team’s coach.

The Hawks’ singles event had four out of their six players win their matches overall. Junior Dan Tan took on Francisco Blanco of St. Francis, winning 6-4 in the first match and 6-3 in the second. Massart played against St. Francis sophomore Stefan Gmijovic, earning six points for each match to win. Junior Michael Santa Lucia scored 6-4 and 7-6 against his opponent, and Dewitt went up against Artiz with a score of 6-3 both times, allowing for the senior to win both of his matches.

“During my match, I was consistent and stayed mentally strong when my opponent got in a rhythm,” Dewitt said. “[Assistant coach] Marc Pibernat always stresses the importance of staying mentally tough and in the moment during our matches.”

In terms of preparing for remaining games of the season, the team looks to improve on both their individual and doubles performances by building up their momentum during the games and looking back on past performances to see what they need to adjust in their tactics and/or position.

“I want to have the best season I’ve had thus far,” Dewitt said. “It would be great to go out on a high note. I also really want to improve my doubles game as well. The doubles point can be a big momentum changer.”

When the team goes to Saint Peter’s University next week, the team is looking to feel comfortable in that playing environment and adjust their skills to it.

“[The tennis courts are] in a bubble, which is a different environment, and we have to make sure the players are prepared for it. Inside the bubble, it is colder and the lighting is different. So, the players will have to prepare for that this upcoming week,” Crookenden said.

The team will go on to compete next week at Saint Peter’s in Jersey City, New Jersey on Feb. 18.

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Sarah Joseph

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