Men’s and Women’s Tennis Gain Momentum


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Men’s and Women’s Tennis Gain Momentum

Noah Swan, Staff Writer

The Villanova Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams earned three wins in four matches during the past week, looking to build momentum heading into the Big East Championships.

The men started their week with a 6-1 victory over Millersville, securing all but the number one singles point. The Wildcats followed with a 4-3 triumph over Big East rivals Georgetown, a nail-biter that came down to freshman Anthony Prokurat at the number five singles position.

As the season comes to a close, coach Brad Adams will be looking to solidify the lineup with an eye toward post-season play. With few changes expected for the rest of the season, it seems Adams has decided on his doubles pairings for each spot in the lineup. Leading the pack is the duo of sophomore Alex Kim and senior Daniel Martinez, a relatively new combination for the team. Kim started the year alongside sophomore Justin Suarez, but the partners fumbled to a 1-6 record as the number one doubles team.

Adams substituted Martinez for Suarez to improve, although this has had mixed results. The new partnership is 2-2, benefitting from the greater experience Martinez provides as a senior. The switch has also allowed Suarez to unearth a fantastic run of form with Prokurat at the number three doubles spot. The younger doubles team is 4-0 and will look to maintain that form moving into the Big East Championships. The headlining doubles pairing and the most reliable team for Adams comprises junior Matthew Jones and freshman Josh Robinson. With a 10-4 record on the season, their solidity contrasts the fluid doubles lineup throughout the season.

Fitting all the doubles pairings into the perfect or most successful amalgamation is so important when considering the dynamic of individual matches. The ‘Cats begin each match by playing out the doubles point, so winning the opener can provide a needed boost for the players as they move into their singles matches. Adams has professed this feeling throughout the season, and these three consecutive wins with consistent lineups appear to be the fruits of his constant tinkering.

The women have required fewer adjustments throughout their season having only played six different combinations of doubles teams this year. Following a two-week stretch of canceled matches, the women are now 4-1 through their last five matches. The one loss came to Penn on Tuesday, a match situated on a knife-edge from start to end. The top two doubles teams secured the doubles point for the ‘Cats, but three singles matches decided in the third set went the wrong direction, leaving Villanova with a 3-4 loss. The Wildcats bounced back quickly, handling Georgetown 5-2 by winning all three doubles matches and the four singles matches at the bottom of the lineup.

Despite the mangled scheduling and extenuating circumstances defining this season, senior Lexi DeNucci is etching her name in the annals of history with her performances in both singles and doubles. She touts a combined record of 14-2 in both singles and doubles, a ludicrous achievement when considering the pandemic-induced effects on the season. 

She has found a perfect partner in junior Annalise Klopfer, the two enjoying incredible success this season. Klopfer carries an even 4-4 record at the number one singles spot, facing the toughest competition each week. Recently named Big East Female Athlete of the Week, Klopfer reversed the fortunes of her predecessors by defeating three-time Big East Player of the Year Jessica Livianu in straight sets.

Senior Claudia Althans and junior Emily Strande rival their teammates in the doubles lineup. With a record of 5-2, this team is counted on by coach Steve Reiniger to secure the doubles point in almost every match. This guaranteed momentum has undoubtedly contributed to the team’s 5-3 record on the season, and the cohesion in the team will serve them well as they stare down Big East Championship opponents.

As each Villanova tennis team inches toward post-season play, this recent success will serve each squad well as they look to bookend the season with a championship.