The Delaware men’s and women’s tennis teams played their final regular-season matches on Saturday.
Sports Assignment Editor
Hoping to break Drexel’s Zeynep Mafa and serve for the match on Saturday, sophomore Danea Jonjic’ hit a hard shot to try to win the point. The ball hit the tape on top of the net, spun up high, and then bounced shortly twice. Jonjic’ was now up 5-2 in the third and deciding set, and looking for the match win.
She would get it in the next game, but would have to work for it again. Having come back from 0-40, Jonjic’ would get to deuce and her first match point, which ended on a rally that she said took the steam right out of her.
“I just wanted to win it so bad,” Jonjic’ said. “I wanted to save it, but I lost the game, but it all worked out, and I ended up winning it. I was so tired, I was like ‘I can’t do it anymore, I can’t believe I lost that point, but I picked it up at the end.”
Both the Delaware men’s and women’s tennis teams played their final matches of the regular season at the Field House Courts. While the women claimed the 5-2 victory, the men fell short, losing 4-3 to the Dragons.
For some, it was the end of their freshman regular-season campaign, but for others, like senior Adam Lawton, it was the last time playing at home.
“It’s sad, but I feel accomplished,” Lawton said.
Before the game, the seniors were honored by the team, and their families got the chance to get photos of them. The day was hot and sunny, with very little wind.
Head coach Laura Travis said she was pleased by the proceedings.
“What perfect weather, it was unbelievable,” Travis said. “It’s just fantastic to play tennis on a day like today and to have the crowd that we had and concession stands set up, it was just wonderful throughout.”
The day began with the customary doubles matches, and the outcome of who would gain the crucial doubles point for both was vastly different, as the women claimed their point by winning all three, while the men fell to the Dragons’ doubles teams.
Senior Dorothy Safron paired with sophomore Carmen Lai to claim the first doubles victory 8-3 for the Blue Hens, while senior Olivia Heim and junior Kim Milla took the second doubles, 8-7 in the tiebreaker. Jonjic’ paired with junior Christina Harrington to round out the women’s doubles success, 8-7 in another tiebreaker.
The team of Lawton and junior Evan Andrews were the lone bright spot for the men in doubles, taking the 8-3 doubles victory over Drexel’s Alex Fioravante and Xabier Saavedra.
Travis said the matches were the first for the men’s doubles teams, and though the outcome did not show it, she was pleased with the change.
“We tried new doubles combinations for today, and it looks like we might be on to something,” she said. “I felt like we were very close to winning the doubles point, which we haven’t done in a long time, and having it come down to one court and that’s the tiebreaker with the new combinations, we’re pleased with that.”
In singles, Jonjic’, Safron, Milla and sophomore Nataliya Naumova took hold of their matches to give the Hens the victory. Though Lai lost her match in the third set, 6-3, Travis said Lai performed well by fighting through leg cramps earlier in the set.
The top two men’s singles matches were rife with issues. Senior Troy Beneck’s opponent Badr Ouabdelmoumen wound up getting mad at the referee, and would wind up losing 6-4, 6-4. Beneck finished out the year with a 23-7 singles record, good enough for second on the all-time single-season list.
In Lawton’s match, Lawton was docked a game heading into the third set for what was adjudged to be a break that was longer than normal. After discussions with the referee, Travis and Drexel’s coach, Lawton would go on to win the match, 7-5, 0-6, 6-1.
Travis said she was pleased with the way both Beneck and Lawton performed in their last regular-season singles matches.
“I was also happy for Troy and Adam that they could perform so well on Senior Day and pull out a match,” she said. “Typically, they’re very hard to do, and they came through with flying colors, especially Adam winning both doubles and singles and pulling out a three-set match and then for Troy who’s played his opponent multiple times and they go back and forth, back and forth, so for him to just finish it in two sets was awesome.”
With the season over, the women improve to 8-7 overall (3-2 CAA), while the men fell to 4-10 overall (0-4 CAA). Both teams will prepare for the CAA Championships, held from April 18-20 at William & Mary.
Travis said she was pleased with the way the two teams gave their best efforts on Saturday.
“Everybody left everything they had out on the court,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s all you can ask for.”