MTEN: Irish drop Wildcats in first round of Big East

Michael Zipf

Heading into the first-round matchup in the Big East tournament against No. 1 Notre Dame, the men’s tennis team seemed poised to pull off an upset. However, the Wildcats’ efforts fell short as the well-balanced and formidable Fighting Irish swept the Wildcats 4-0 to advance to the semifinals of the tournament in Tampa, Fla. The first match of the day featured Villanova’s doubles team of sophomore Dimitri Chimerakis and junior Sean Daly who fell to Notre Dame’s No. 1 doubles team of seniors Ryan Keckley and Stephen Bass, 8-2. Villanova’s freshman Alex Leeser and junior Charlie Farmer put forth solid performances, but they also fell short in their attempt to capture the second doubles match, losing 8-4.

Switching to the singles matches, Notre Dame continued its dominance, recording three straight singles victories, with no match reaching the third set. Daly fell short in the first singles match, losing to Bass 6-0, 6-4 in straight sets. Fellow Villanova singles competitors junior Scott Fahrendorf and sophomore Sumanth Chittajalu also fell short, losing 6-0, 6-2; and 6-0, 6-0, respectively. The defeat moved the Wildcats into the consolation bracket where they faced the No. 4-seeded DePaul Blue Demons.

Looking to rebound from their performance against Notre Dame, the Wildcats engaged in a difficult battle with DePaul, which had been upset by St. John’s the previous day. Although the Wildcats’ efforts produced closer matches, the Wildcats met with similar results as their previous outing, losing to DePaul 4-0. Villanova’s first double’s team of Daly and Chimerakis nearly pulled off a victory, dropping their match by an 8-6 margin. The Wildcats engaged in another close battle in the second doubles match, in which the team lost 8-5.

In singles play, DePaul swept the first three matches to put the match out of reach and give the Blue Demons a 4-0 victory. The defeat eliminated the Wildcats from the Big East tournament. The Wildcats finished up their season when they faced UMBC on Tuesday.