Though the season did not end with a PSAC championship for either squad, the West Chester men’s and women’s tennis teams were able to finish the season off with victories.
Just squeezing into the playoffs, the men’s tennis team entered the PSAC tournament by immediately going into the semi-finals match, squaring off with Kutztown University. In a battle of golden rivals, the Golden Rams could not take down the Golden Bears, as West Chester fell to Kutztown 0-5.
The Rams tried their hardest to keep up with the Bears, but were simply overmatched, especially in doubles competition. In a heartbreaking loss, Jimmy Aridas and Chaz Irwin fell just short to Rich Lichtenwalner and Ben Nace of Kutztown, losing 8-9.
In singles competition, Jared Howat lost to Rushi Amin, 6-2, 6-1. Irwin was also unsuccessful in his singles match, falling 4-6.
Looking to bounce back from their PSAC tournament lost, the men’s team next had a home-matchup with Gloucester County College. Unfortunately, the match was cancelled due to rain, and West Chester went into their final season game against Eastern University.
Hosting the Eagles in their final home matchup, the Golden Rams put their heart and soul into their game. It paid off, as West Chester would go on to defeat Eastern University on Senior Day, winning with a dominant score of 9-0.
West Chester was ruthless in every way, winning all six singles competitions to start the day off. Irwin and Howatt recovered from their Kutztown losses, bringing home wins in their final season games. Connor Dunn, Lars Kristiansen, Cody Leimback, and Joseph Cooke also achieved singles wins, as well.
In doubles competition, the Rams were victorious once again. In the first matchup, the team of Howat and Leimback won in strong fashion. Next up was the team of Dunn and Ryan Learn, also victorious against Eastern. Last, but not least, the team of Cooke and Aridas brought home the last wins of the season, solidifying the team’s final record of 6-10.
On the women’s side of the court, West Chester started their PSAC tournament quest strong, winning their quarterfinals matchup against Kutztown, 5-1.
Cassidy Branigan was the star of the game, as she helped propel the Golden Rams to the victory. The sophomore from Lansdowne, Pa., was a deciding factor in the Rams’ win, moving past Kutztown to advance to the PSAC semifinals.
Though they hosted the semifinals match, the Rams could not get past their opponents, California, Pa. The Rams were eliminated after losing 0-5.
Abriana Nolan and Jami Dumler suffered singles losses against the Vulcans. Four of the other singles matches were unfinished.
Doubles competition was not any kinder to the Lady Rams. The teams of Maddy Shaak and Nicole Fahringer, Nolan and Amalia Hartman, and Stephanie Cifarelli and Branigan could not pull out any wins for the Golden Rams against Cal.
Just like the men’s team, the women’s matchup against Gloucester County College got rained out. To end the season, just like the men’s team, the Lady Rams won in decisive fashion against Eastern University, finishing their season on an 8-1 win.
Shaak, Braningan, Nolan, Dumler, and Haley Wissinger all closed out their seasons with singles wins. Fahringer put up a hard-fought battle, but fell in singles competition, West Chester’s only loss on the day.
Fahringer bounced back to win in doubles competition with Shaak. Hartman and Nolan also teamed up to earn a doubles victory. Finally, Branigan and Cifarelli took home a final doubles win to end the season with a winning record of 11-10.
Reflecting on the season, though it did not end in any tournament wins, the men’s and women’s tennis teams fought hard in each and every game, rather than giving up. The women’s team, in particular, truly proved this by winning six of their last seven matchups.
Both teams have ascending players that will help West Chester bring home victories for years to come, and hopefully, championships as well. These teams will look to work extremely hard in the off-season, and to bounce back for next season. With players such as Irwin and Braningan leading these teams in the future, expect the Golden Rams’ tennis teams to prove that they are serious contenders for tennis gold.
Oliver Suskin-Santarelli is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at OS753461@wcupa.edu.