By Nick Hawks
The Cleveland State University men’s and women’s tennis teams continue to try and outduel each other, as both teams are in the midst of long winning streaks. The women have won a remarkable seven matches in a row to improve to 12-7 on the season. The men are not far behind them, at a streak of four wins in a row and a 15-7 overall record. Both teams remained undefeated in conference play.
On April 7, the Vikings women’s team capped off an impressive three game homestand with another dominating win, beating Detroit Mercy by the score of 5-2, improving their record to 8-0 at home. In the singles competition, freshman Lara Prosenjak, junior Kateryna Avram and sophomore Klara Mrcela were all victorious in straight sets.
After losing the first set 4-6, junior Sian Payne rebounded by winning her next two sets and notching a come-from-behind victory. In the doubles competition, the tandem of Avram and Prosenjak won by a dominating score of 6-0, while the duo of Payne and sophomore Gaby Schoenberg were able to scratch out a victory by the score of 7-6 (7-5).
The women’s team started the week on a high note on April 3 with a convincing 6-1 win over the University of Dayton. They went undefeated in the doubles competition and won five out of six events in the singles competition. On April 6, the Vikings defeated Oakland University by yet another dominating score of 6-1. It was the same story as April 3, as the Vikings once again swept all three doubles competitions and cruised their way to five out of six in the singles.
After starting the year 5-7, the women now find themselves tied for first place in the Horizon League with the University of Illinois at Chicago, thanks in part to the outstanding play of Prosenjak. The standout freshman took home her first accolade on April 9, being named the Horizon League Singles Player of the Week. She is the second women’s tennis player for the Vikings to earn that title this season. She remains undefeated in singles play this season at 5-0, the only freshman to remain undefeated.
To say Kateryna Avram has been good this year would not be doing the word justice, as she has a dominating record of 15-3 this season. The junior, who is in her first season with the Vikings after transferring from Northwestern State University, has been a welcome addition, leading the Vikings in wins this season. She has made a huge impact on the team, which is one of only two teams out of ten that remain undefeated in conference play. Their 13-7 overall record is second best in the conference.
For the men’s tennis team, they hosted Case Western Reserve University on April 6, and despite the fact that they were shorthanded, the Vikings won convincingly by the score of 5-2. The Vikings were at a disadvantage from the start, losing by default in the sixth spot due to playing with a shorthanded roster. However, they would not be deterred, as they won four of the other five singles competitions and sweeping up all three doubles competitions.
The men’s team was able to start the day on a high note, winning the doubles point thanks to a pair of 6-1 victories. Sophomores Luke Phillips and Matthew Terry manned the number one spot in the lineup, while the duo of junior Nico Mostardi and freshman Clark Bilinovich held fort at the number three spot. The score was tied heading into singles play, thanks to the default point to Case Western, until Phillips put the Vikings back on top, winning his match 6-3, 6-2. Case Western once again came back, this time having to earn it, tying the score at two a piece, before Terry put the Vikings back on top for good, winning by the score of 6-3, 6-2. Bilinovich followed suit, winning 6-3, 7-5. Capping the day for Cleveland State was senior Benjamin Slade, earning the victory by the score of 6-3, 6-4. It was a particularly impressive victory for Slade, as he became just the sixth Viking all-time to reach the 75 win milestone.
Following in his footsteps are Terry and Phillips, who with their victories, notched their 47th and 42nd career victories, respectively. As impressive as those feats are, not to be outdone, freshman phenom Clark Bilinovich took home his team leading 24th singles win of the season in his victory, putting him in good company with the accomplished Vikings roster.
The men added two more wins to their record against with wins over Northern Kentucky University and Wright State University. Over the two matches, the men only lost four games. The duo of Bilinovich and Malm swept their doubles matches, while Terry, Phillips, Slade, Bilinovich and junior Nico Monstardi won all of their singles matches against both of the schools.
The future, along with the present, certainly looks bright, as there are just a few weeks of regular season play left before playoff action begins.