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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Serving up success

Serving+up+success

Men’s and women’s tennis teams have victorious weekends

The Saint Joseph’s University men’s tennis team squared off against Fairfield University on Feb. 18. The Hawks were coming off of an impressive 7-0 victory against Lafayette College earlier this month, and their success continued as they cruised to a 6-1 victory against Fairfield.

The Hawks grabbed the momentum early as junior Peter Dewitt and sophomore Tim Stierle won the first doubles flight with a convincing 6-2 victory. A 7-5 doubles victory by senior Kyle Chalmers and sophomore Dan Tan in the second flight matchup clinched the doubles point for the Hawks.

St. Joe’s rode this momentum and won five out of the six singles flights. Stierle, sophomore Andre Fick, senior Tristan Boustany, and Dewitt all prevailed in straight sets. The night was capped with an impressive 2-6, 6-3, 12-10 comeback win by Tan that finished in a super tiebreaker. Chalmers lost in the first singles flight, but his loss highlighted one of Head Coach Ian Crookenden’s positive takeaways from the past couple of matches.

“We have good balance as a team and are not counting on one particular individual or doubles team to ensure a victory,” Crookenden said. “On any given day any one of our players can make the difference.”

Chalmers echoed his coach, saying that it took pressure off of him playing  first singles knowing that he is competing in front of a great group of players that can always step up and win a match on any given day.

Crookenden said it was not so much the physical aspects of the game such as consistent groundstrokes or a high first serve percentage, but rather an evident positive mentality  that led to a victory against Fairfield.

“We fought hard,” Crookenden said. “The strokes go in and out but the attitude and the positive energy was maintained. The individuals are handling the errors better. They are showing more maturity through their match play.”

Chalmers said the mental aspect of his game has been the most improved facet of his skillset while here at St. Joe’s. He credited Crookenden in helping improve his point construction and mental edge.

“There is never a time I don’t go out and give 100 percent,” Chalmers said.

This mental fine-tuning comes with time, as Crookenden referenced when comparing this win with the Hawks’ season opening loss to Navy.

“The team [Fairfield] yesterday was comparable to our opening match against Navy, but the score was reversed,” Crookenden said. “We are now winning close matches and that displays the confidence and the match fitness that’s a very positive development.”

The St. Joe’s women’s tennis team picked up their second and third straight victories over the weekend, notching consecutive 6-1 wins against Sacred Heart University and Fairfield University.

The Hawks delivered convincing victories both days. St. Joe’s dropped only one doubles match, to Sacred Heart, and Crookenden was particularly impressed with the doubles performance against Fairfield.

“It was apparent to us in the women’s match that Fairfield had some very good individual talent,” Crookenden said. “But they did not have the doubles ability that we displayed, because we won all doubles and that set the tone.”

The Hawks won five out of six singles matches with relative ease over two days. That was not the case with the singles matches. St. Joe’s only lost two matches, but most of their victories were highly contested. Crookenden said he was happy with all the singles wins, but pointed out two standout performers: junior Maureen Devlin and senior Sarah Contrada.

Devlin lost her singles match in the second flight to Sacred Heart on Friday. Crookenden said he was really impressed at how she was able to bounce back on Saturday and win 7-5, 6-4 against a strong opponent, which Crookenden said was a good maturing sign.

Crookenden also highlighted Contrada’s victory in the fifth singles flight against Fairfield. Contrada won a deciding tiebreaker after splitting the first two sets in an impressive comeback performance.

“Coming back from a deficit shows maturity as a player,” Crookenden said, “When you get that showing and fight, it shows an emotional maturity that is an integral part in competing in tennis.”

The men’s team will play back-to-back matches at home on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 against Saint Louis University and the University of Delaware, respectively. The women’s team will travel to play at Queens College on March 11.

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