Rain delayed Kennesaw State’s tennis matches for both the men and women’s teams on Saturday, Feb. 18, against Alabama State University, but both posted impressive performances — the women split their matches 3-3 while the men swept the Hornets 4-0.
The rain forced a delay of several hours, causing four matches to begin at the same time. After a short dry spell, the rain returned, impeding any further activity. The men and women did not finish their doubles matches, and two of the men’s singles matches were stopped mid-game.
The women’s team began its match day with juniors Cristina Perez-Martin, Kennedy Craig, Alexandra Mercado and Laura Hopton taking the courts. After being defeated by Chattanooga three weeks ago, the women came out with a fighting spirit and played very well.
Perez-Martin, who had lost a tight three-set match against Chattanooga, showed her tenacity again as she narrowly lost her first set before losing 6-4, 6-0. Craig also kept her match close, losing out 6-3, 6-4.
Meanwhile, Mercado manufactured an intense come-from-behind victory. Having lost the first set and gone down 3-0 in the third, she won her match 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Hopton won a very competitive match at 7-5, 6-4, 7-5, and she got the Owls on level terms with the Hornets.
The late matches included freshman Aspen Jarrett and sophomore Jessica Cantrell. Jarrett, who won the only match for the Owls against Chattanooga, lost narrowly 6-4, 7-5, while Cantrell came back to win 5-7, 6-0, 6-4. All three doubles pairs began their matches but stopped short due to the rain.
After warming up during the women’s matches, the men started off with seniors Simon Pritchard and Sam Slade, along with sophomores Lucas de Torres Curth and Fermin Calvo Barcelo. Pritchard made quick work of his opponent, winning in straight sets, while Slade had an exciting match before eventually seeing off the Hornets player 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
Unfortunately, the rain prevented de Torres Curth from finishing his match. After Calvo Barcelo easily won his match, junior Manuel Castellanos earned his own victory in a later game, quickly defeating his opponent 6-2, 6-1.
Senior Drew Wendel was the final KSU men’s player to start his match but was also unable to finish. Both Calvo Barcelo and Wendel were leading in their matches when they were stopped short. The men were not able to begin their doubles matches.
For the women, Saturday’s matches showed a great improvement in performances from the previous meets and should be a source of momentum heading into the upcoming busy schedule.
The men achieved their second win of the year after a number of close losses in recent weeks. Before Saturday, the previous three meets had been decided 4-3, two resulting in losses and one in a win. Winning in the convincing fashion as they did against Alabama State should also boost their momentum in the coming weeks.
“The women had to deal with some difficult situations,” said Director Eduardo Rincon, “but they responded very well.”
Both teams will take on Jacksonville State University on Thursday, Feb. 23.