Season ends on low note for ‘Nova tennis

Chase Gibson

The men’s and women’s final tennis matches didn’t pan out the way the teams hoped, but, the ‘Cats did show drastic improvement and promise for next season.

The women went 1-3 in their last four matches, ending the season with a 5-13 record overall, 1-5 in conference play.

The women wrapped up their season at Seton Hall on April 15, losing by a 1-6. Losing the doubles point set the ‘Cats back, as the Pirates dominated the court from start to finish.

Two days prior, Villanova earned a quality win on the road over Providence, coasting to a 6-1 victory.

Jennifer Zick, Steph Ariot, Jessie Rybacki, Kelly McAndrew and Erica Walter all registered singles victories. The team also swept the doubles matches. The No. 1 team of Ariot and Rybacki won 8-4, No. 2 doubles Zick and McAndrew won 8-5 and Courtney and Morgan Flezzani finished off the Friars, 8-4.

The April 12 match-up against Connecticut did not produce the same results as the Providence match a day earlier, as the ‘Cats lost 1-6. Walter broke up UConn’s bid for a sweep, winning her singles match in the third set. The team lost the doubles point as Ariot and Rybacki fell, 3-8, and McAndrew and Zick lost, 4-8.

In the first match of the four game stretch, Villanova faced a tough Bucknell team and lost 1-6, though the match was closer than the score indicated. Rybacki and McAndrew led their doubles match 5-2 before Bucknell’s Jill Wurzburg and Tanya Sichko went on a 6-1 tear to win the point, 8-6. Courtney and Morgan Flezzani cruised in No. 3 doubles, 8-3. McAndrew continued her strong individual play, winning No. 4 singles over Sichko, but the match was decided when Bucknell easily picked up the necessary three singles points.

Coach Steve Reiniger returns the majority of his squad for next season. Ariot and Zick represent the graduating senior captains.

While the women held on for their lone victory, the men’s team slid down the stretch, dropping four straight matches to UConn, Boston College, St. John’s and Rutgers. The skid lowered the ‘Cats overall record to 5-15.

Undefeated in Big East play, Rutgers drubbed Villanova, sweeping doubles and singles play en route to a 7-0 victory. The April 16 match marked the end of the careers of seniors Brad Adams, Ryan Devine, Justin Goulet and Andy O’Neil.

Coach Bob Batman praised the efforts of his senior captains.

“The four seniors played in the last match against Rutgers and put forth a gritty and determined effort,which allowed them to walk away with their heads high and a proud smile,” Batman said.

The ‘Cats’ matches against Big East rivals Boston College and St. Johns both ended with the same result, 1-6 losses. In both instances, No. 2 doubles Adams and John Toppel won their matches, 9-8 and 8-5, respectively. Unfortunately, the team came away empty, losing the tone-setting doubles point.

Ricardo Baraldi registered the team’s lone victory against Boston College with a No. 5 singles win, 6-3, 4-6, 1-0. Likewise, Carl Fenzel picked up the team’s only win in his No. 6 singles victory over St. John’s Todd Goldberg, 6-3, 6-2.

The Huskies swept the singles matches to defeat the Cats, 6-0. Adams represented ‘Nova’s best shot at picking up a singles point, losing to Mike Furman in the final set, 3-6, 6-3, 0-1.