March 7, 2018 The Signal page 23 Men’s Tennis
Men’s tennis smashes opponents By Rohan Ahluwalia Staff Writer
The men’s tennis team began their season with a pair of wins at home, defeating both Dickinson College, 9-0, on Saturday, March 3, and Franklin and Marshall College the next day, 7-2. “This was a great start for us,” said head coach Scott Dicheck. “We are very optimistic about the season. The toughest problem we’ve had to start the season is a lot of injuries, but the leaders we have on the team helped us through.” Junior Matt Puig was one of the top performers for the Lions against Dickinson College. Forming a partnership in doubles competition with junior Omar Bokhari, both Puig and Bokhari went 8-0 in their game against senior Nick Reese and junior Derek Chen of Dickinson. Afterward, senior Chris D’Agostino teamed up with junior Mitchel Sanders as they defeated the Dickinson duo of seniors Samuel Loring and Shawn Diniz, 8-5. Junior Tim Gavornik and sophomore Gokul Murugesan won their game, 8-1, over Dickinson freshmen Joey Bolanos and Vincent Tover Dias. In the singles competition, Puig earned a straight set victory over Chen, winning both his sets 6-0. Sanders managed to get the better of Diniz, winning both sets, 6-2 and 6-3. Bokhari defeated Loring in two sets, 6-2 and 7-5. Gavornik and junior Achyuth Balijepalle respectively won their singles matches over Bolanos and Reese. Murugesan also won his singles match in three sets over Dickinson’s Bryce Perritt, losing the first set 4-6 but bouncing back in his next sets for 6-4 and 10-7 wins. The next day, the Lions cruised to a 7-2 victory over Franklin and Marshall. For the second match in a row, the Lions won all three doubles competitions. Puig and Bokhari continued their cohesive partnership with an 8-3 victory over junior Zack Levin and senior Will Samuels of Franklin and Marshall. Gavornik and Murugesan also partnered up for their 8-5 win
Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk
Sanders defeats his opponent in two sets.
over opposing sophomore Andrew Pace and junior Isaac Salas. Sanders and D’Agostino rounded out the doubles matches for the Lions as they won a close match against Franklin and Marshall senior Jack Rothman and freshman Sam Bellersen, 9-7. In singles competition, Sanders continued his stellar performance as he defeated Rothman in two sets, 7-5 and 7-6. The Lions did suffer two defeats against Franklin and Marshall, the first of which came when Puig went down against Salas. Salas won the first set, 6-3, before Puig won the second, 6-4. In the third and deciding set, Salas came out on top, winning 7-5. Murugesan took the Lions’ second defeat when he lost in straight sets against Pace. Despite Murugesan trying his
best to outdo his opponent, he lost the first set 7-6 and the second set 6-3. Despite the two losses, the Lions did manage to earn three wins which led to their victory over Franklin and Marshall. Bokhari defeated Levin in two sets, 6-2 and 6-3. Gavornik won his game against Bellersen in two sets, 6-3 and 6-4. Finally, Balijepalle won his game against Samuels in three sets, winning the first, 6-3, before losing the next set, 5-7 and finally winning the last set, 10-7. After earning two victories, the Lions will return to training as they prepare to play New York University on Thursday, March 8 at the Recreation Center at 4 p.m. The team will then return to the Rec Center for another match against Goucher College on Friday, March 9 at 4 p.m.
Dunk / Lions celebrate this season’s achievements continued from page 28
RIT eventually cut the Lions’ lead by four, but couldn’t contain O’Leary long enough to surpass the Lions, as she drained her fourth three-pointer of the game to put the Lions up 39-32. Following a layup from Schum, O’Leary scored a basket off a layup in the paint, drawing a foul in the process with just one second left on the clock. Her free throw sent RIT to the locker room with a 44-32 deficit. RIT returned in the second half, hungry for an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance. Eight points proved to be an unsustainable lead as RIT clamped down on the defensive end of the floor in the fourth quarter. Following two free throws by RIT, Schum drained a three-pointer off an assist from senior forward Nikki Schott, but was quickly countered by back-to-back three-pointers from RIT senior guard Jessica Glaz. RIT then followed up when junior guard Cori Okada made a layup to cut the Lions’ lead down to 66-65. Okada later tied the game with another three-pointer following a layup by Byrne. With 1:32 minutes remaining, Schum drained a three-pointer to give the College a 74-72 lead. The home crowd’s roaring enthusiasm at Packer Hall was not enough to lead the Lions to victory in an elimination game. RIT launched a comeback when freshman guard Sabrina
Schum drills two three-pointers against RIT in the fourth quarter.
Wolfe scored the game-tying layup. Okada then helped RIT reclaim the lead off a clutch threepointer. Following layups from Devitt and RIT junior forward Tara Lynch, Byrne tried to save
the Lions’ season with a gametying three-point attempt. The hovering basketball did not find the basket, as the women’s basketball team’s season concluded with a 79-76 loss.
Miguel Gonzalez / Sports Editor
After a strong first half to take a commanding lead, the Lions were outscored 47-32 in the second half to cough up the lead. Jackson partially attributes the second half struggle to fatigue.
“I think our second half vs. RIT was due to a combination of factors. We haven’t played back-toback games since November, and so fatigue was a clear factor.” She also credits RIT’s clutch offensive play down the stretch. “RIT’s guard play was fantastic, and they hit some pretty remarkable shots late in the game to go on a few runs that we struggled to counter,” Jackson said. “I think that our offense is really dictated by our defense, and so when we weren’t getting stops, it was increasingly difficult to score against them.” Despite the tournament loss, Jackson was not ready to think about next season just yet. Instead, she continued to focus on the accomplishments her team achieved this season. “I am hopeful that our returners can become more consistent moving into next season, but our roster will look very different next year, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself thinking too much about an NCAA tournament run quite yet,” Jackson said. “We really focused on one day at a time this year, and I want to continue doing that moving forward. I am incredibly proud of our team for everything we were able to achieve this season. Our seniors were tremendous leaders, and the entire group brought a renewed focus and energy into every new challenge. I am looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in the future.”
The 03/07/18 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper