After weeks of multiple losses for both teams, West Chester’s men’s and women’s tennis squads are making a late season comeback when it matters most.
For the men’s team, it started off rockier than they would have liked. Hosting Mercyhurst University in a PSAC match, the Rams suffered one of their worst losses yet, falling to Mercyhurst 0-9.
The loss was the Ram’s eigth of the season, and dropping them to 1-2 in the PSAC conference. Mercyhurst went on to improve to 6-7, as well as 3-1 in the PSAC.
Next up in the week was a visit to Kutztown University, but it did not end much better than when they hosted Mercyhurst. Yet again, the Rams dropped their matchup, as they fell to Kutztown 3-6.
In singles competition, J.J. Cooke and Cody Leimback picked up wins respectively to help West Chester against Kutztown. In doubles competition, Ryan Learn and Lars Kristiansen also notched a victory. However, it was not enough to get the team a win, and the Golden Rams fell to 4-9 on the season (1-3 in the PSAC).
However, one should never count a West Chester athletics team out, as the men’s team proved their worth against their next opponent, Millersville. Hosting the Marauders in what was a do-or-die matchup, the Rams won with a final score of 8-1.
More importantly, the win clinched West Chester a playoff spot in the PSAC Tournament, where they will go on to play Kutztown in the semifinal round.
Jared Howatt, a junior from Exton, Pa., helped bring home the victory for West Chester by winning in singles and doubles matches. Howatt paired with Leimback to take their match in doubles, while the team of Kristiansen and Ryan Learn also notched a win, as well.
In singles competiton, West Chester was dominant. The Rams won each of their singles matches, with wins coming from the aforementioned Howatt, Leimback, Kristiansen, Cooke, Connor Dunn, and Chaz Irwin.
On the opposite side of the court, the women’s team also stormed back after a slow start to the season, winning each and every match they had this week.
In their first victory of the week, the Lady Rams took down visiting Cheyney University, shutting them out 9-0. Cheyney, on the other hand, has yet to find their first win of the season.
The women’s second win of the week came when they traveled to Kutztown University, where they won 7-2. The win improved West Chester to 7-9 on the season, as well as 3-1 in the PSAC.
That winning PSAC record came in handy in their next matchup, as the Rams not only crushed Millersville with a 7-2 win, but also clinched the second seed in the PSAC tournament.
To end the regular season, the Lady Rams cruised to a dominant 9-0 win over Shippensburg. After a long struggle during the course of the year, this final win brought the Lady Rams to an even 9-9 record to end their regular season.
Credit must be given to these tennis teams, as they scratched and clawed their way back into the PSAC tournament, and now ride a wave of momentum going into it. The women’s team, in particular, was highly impressive in their late-season comeback. To win at all is a constant challenge, but to win four times in a row to end the season is something this team should take great pride in.
With both teams riding victories, they will look to bring home the gold in the PSAC Championship this week.
Oliver Suskin-Santarelli is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at OS753461@wcupa.edu.