By Andrew White | Staff Writer
The Duquesne University men’s tennis team snapped a four match skid with a 5-2 victory over local Division III foe Carnegie Mellon University on Friday, Feb. 3 at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness Center.
The win was the Dukes’ first of the season. Even though Carnegie Mellon plays at the Division III level they are not a team to be taken lightly. The Tartans are currently ranked No. 2 at their level.
“CMU is always a strong team; we struggled with them in the fall and they always give us a tough match. This was a good way to step up and show that we improved,” Director of Tennis Vanessa Steiner said.
Duquesne was led by a strong singles showing, winning five out of the six matches. Four of the wins came in straight sets by Adam Blasinsky, Andrew Ong, Jared Isaacs and Dane Bendel.
The Dukes’ two losses came on a singles loss by Dimitris Stavropoulos, and a team doubles loss where they fell 6-4, 6-2, 4-6.
Duquesne kept its momentum rolling on Sunday when they opened up conference play with a 5-2 home win over the Saint Joseph’s University Hawks, also at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness Center.
“St. Joes beat us last year 5-2, so to come back and turn it around and beat them 5-2 was huge for us,” Steiner said. She also mentioned that the win will help boost the team’s morale as the season progresses.
Duquesne took four out of the six singles matches from the Hawks and also swept the doubles point.
The singles portion of the match was once again led by Blasinsky, Ong and Isaacs, with Chris Corrao also getting his second win of the weekend.
The Dukes dominated the doubles point as well with the pairings of Blasinsky/Corrao, Ong/Bendel and Isaacs/Stavropoulos all collecting wins (7-5, 6-1, 6-2 respectively).
Steiner had nothing but good things to say about the Dukes overall play on both Friday and Sunday.
“Overall all of our doubles teams stepped up on Sunday against St Joe’s. Their energy and play was just awesome. As far as individual players Chris [Corrao], Adam [Blasinsky] and Andrew [Ong] really worked hard all week and all three went 2-0 against some tough opponents,” Steiner said. “They all worked real hard in practice this week and gained personal victories there, and it paid off in the matches,” Steiner continued.
The doubles victory over St. Joe’s was the Dukes first doubles point won this year, in addition to their first Division I win of the season.
Steiner says she hopes for the Dukes to continue their success in the upcoming weeks.
“We have the potential to get on a roll, but it is going to require a consistent effort in practice and matches. This is going to require a persistent training on the court as well as staying mentally sharp,” Steiner said.
The Dukes, which don’t have a single senior on the roster, look to build off of their two-win weekend when they face off against Mercyhurst at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness Center on Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.