Wildcats wrap up tennis season

Kyle Scudilla

It was announced this week that the Villanova men’s tennis team was selected to participate in this year’s Big East tournament, which began play Thursday at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Meanwhile, the women season’s ended on Wednesday.

The men, who earned the number six seed in the six-team tournament, are making their first trip to the Big East Championship since the tournament changed to the six-team format.

The tournament bid is the Wildcats’ first since 2000, when they finished 10th overall. Senior players Aaron Kusza, Ricardo Baraldi, Angel Rubio and Sean Gallagher will all be making their first trips to the Big East Championship.

“We set a goal at the beginning of the year to get to the Big East championships,” said head coach Bob Batman to Villanova.com, “and to achieve that goal is validation for all the hard work and dedication that the guys have put in all year.”

Last year’s defending champions, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, will go to Tampa as the number one seed in the tournament. The remainder of the field will be filled out by number two seed Boston College, number three seed Rutgers, number four seed Georgetown and number five seed St. John’s.

Since Notre Dame and Boston College, as the top two teams, will receive byes in the quarterfinal round, Villanova will square off against the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University in the first round. The two teams have some recent history, as the Wildcats fell to Rutgers by a score of 4-3 in a match played earlier this season.

The Wildcats failed to head into the tournament with winning momentum; however, when they dropped their regular season finale 4-3 against the Bucknell Bisons this past Tuesday.

Villanova got singles wins from No. 4 singles player Scott Fahrendorf and No. 5 singles player Sean Gallagher.

They also picked up doubles wins from the teams of Aaron Kusza/Angel Rubio and Dimitri Chimerakis/Sean Gallagher, but in the end, Bucknell came away with the win. The match, held at the Villanova Tennis Complex, dropped Villanova’s final 2005 record to 7-13.

The women’s tennis team also ended the season on a bad note, but unlike the men, the end of the regular season marked the conclusion to their 2005 campaign.

The women’s team dropped three matches in its final week of play to end the season with a final record of 7-14. Last Friday, the women suffered a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Panthers.

The Wildcats got their wins from the two sophomores, No. 1 singles player Candice Carlin and No. 3 singles player Leighann Reilly. Pittsburgh managed to salvage the other singles matches and swept the doubles matches.

Villanova suffered the same fate on Saturday with a crushing 6-1 loss to the Mountaineers of West Virginia University. Carlin won her No. 1 singles match, but it ended up being the lone highlight on what turned out to be a long day for the women’s team.

The women wrapped up the season by losing to the St. John’s Red Storm, 7-0. Villanova did get a win from Candice Carlin and senior Courtney Flezzani at No. 1 doubles, in what was their last doubles match as a tandem.

The bright spot of the day was that before the match, Villanova honored its seniors, Courtney Flezzani, Morgan Flezzani and Melissa Reed, for their service to the Villanova women’s tennis program.