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Men’s tennis

Tennis serves it up in sunny SoCal

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While most of campus enjoyed a break off from school, the nationally ranked Swarthmore Men’s Tennis team hit the road, stopping in Virginia and then flying to California to compete against some of the top Division III tennis teams in the country.

Last year, the Garnet spent most of their spring break in the Pacific Northwest at the Whitman Invitational, largely taking on schools from California, Washington, and Oregon. The trip was for the most part a success. Wins over California Lutheran University and Lewis and Clark College prepared the Garnet for a season that included a 15-6 record and a Centennial Conference Tournament Finals appearance. Mostly, the spring break trip was used as an opportunity for the Garnet to challenge themselves against unfamiliar opposition in an entirely different part of the country.

The team graduated two seniors last year, and recruited three freshman, Max Gruber ’20 of Iowa City, Iowa, William Teoh ’20 of Duluth, Georgia, and Kevin Xu ’20 of Princeton, New Jersey.

The Garnet, who are ranked 29th nationally by the NCAA, started their eventful 2017 spring break in Lexington, Virginia against Washington and Lee University, who are ranked 38th nationwide. The Garnet dropped the match by a 3-6 score, but notched wins at first doubles, third singles, and sixth singles. Highlights of the match included Kevin Xu’ 20’s win at sixth singles. They continued their trip in a neutral site match against another nationally ranked opponent, Sewanee: The University of the South, another team ranked in the top 30. Swarthmore’s doubles teams won on the day, but the team was swept in the singles lineup.

The team then headed to Southern California, in hopes for a final spring tuneup in warm weather before a return to Conference play. The Garnet fell to the 18th ranked University of Redlands, and then, in a split squad match, fell to Cerritos College, and the 6th ranked co-op team of the Claremont Colleges (Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd). On Friday, March 10, the Garnet picked up their first win of the year, beating Glendale College 6-3. Subsequently, the team concluded their California road trip with losses to top 10 nationally ranked opponents, Pomona-Pitzer, and Carnegie Mellon in Claremont, California.

Teoh reflected on his experiences on the spring break trip.

“The experience was unique because it really gave us a chance to bond off the court and outside of the classroom as well, particularly as a new freshman. I definitely became closer with the guys, and Coach Mullan too. Along with tennis, we also visited Manhattan Beach where Evan Han’s family hosted us.”

Teoh also commented on his takeaways from the difficult results from the trip.

“Some of the major takeaways from this trip from a team perspective is that things won’t always go our way and we will make mistakes. Instead of worrying about results on a trip like this, we should worry about what we can control. A lot of the matches didn’t end the way we wanted, but we definitely learned that results on the court should not affect our lives off the court. We still enjoyed the trip regardless of the results.”

Finally, Teoh addressed the difficult schedule the Garnet faced over their break.

“Playing 4 teams in the top 15 in the country was very difficult, but our guys feel very prepared for conference matches now. We now know what level we want to play at. At this point, we will only get better and we are still motivated to make NCAA’s and win as many matches as possible.”

Teoh and the other Garnet tennis players are looking to replicate their success from last season. The spring break trip to Virginia and California challenged the team against some of the best teams in the nation, while giving them a nice break from being on campus. They open Centennial Conference play with an away match against Gettysburg on Saturday, March 25 at 1pm.

Swat athletes and political engagement

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Whether it’s Lebron James on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton, or Colin Kaepernick and other professional football players choosing to kneel during the national anthem in solidarity with black people against police brutality, the trend of separating politics and athletics has slowly dissolved in the age of social media and 24/7 sports coverage. Americans from two or three generations ago no longer recognize the new professional sports landscape, where it is commonplace for athletes to inject their opinions on contentious political issues. Back in the era before social media, athletes like Larry Bird were notorious for avoiding press conferences and not commenting on anything political. Magic Johnson was met with stark opposition for supporting HIV awareness following his highly publicized HIV positive test. Even Bill Belichick, an old-school NFL coach for the New England Patriots, famously commented in 2011 that he didn’t “Twitter, MyFace, or Yearbook. I don’t use any of those things.” However, it is clear that the advent of social media and constant media coverage has thrown professional athletes into the limelight, and politics and sports are becoming increasingly intertwined.

       The Centennial Conference and Division III sports in suburban Pennsylvania don’t exactly equate with the glamor of major professional sports in the United States. However, the recent election results have prompted many student groups on campus to speak up, including prominent athletic teams. Three days after the election, the Swarthmore Men’s Tennis team posted a public statement on their Facebook page that received over 130 likes and 20 shares.

       “The Swarthmore Men’s Tennis team is devoted to ensuring the respect, safety, and dignity for all individuals and communities that have been, and will continue to be, affected by the recent election. As male athletes, we urge ALL men’s athletic programs, as well as ALL male organizations on campus to do the same. Silence is inaction, and we must speak up.”

       The post continued, “This is also a reminder to ALL men on this campus, regardless of your athletic affiliation, that sexism and misogyny are systems of oppression that you are, consciously or not, a part of. This means not only standing in solidarity with your fellow Swarthmore students, but also actively fighting for, marching with, and listening to those around you who don’t benefit from said systems.”

       Blake Oetting ’18, a co-captain of the Men’s Varsity Tennis team, said the intention of the post was to show solidarity with marginalized groups on campus.

       “It was necessary to make the posts to show solidarity with the women on this campus, but we shouldn’t pretend that our job is done. I hope male sports team set expectations for themselves to drastically shift the type of discourse they have regarding women and their bodies and show up to rallies, demonstrations, etc. to prove their written support. Our job is far from over and I hope those who make the posts don’t think that is the case,” Oetting said.

       When asked about the unique responsibility as a student-athlete at Swarthmore, Oetting talked about the connection between athletics and an exclusively male group with societal power and privilege.

       “I don’t feel responsibility as an athlete to speak out, per se. But, because being an athlete places me within a specifically gendered group, and because that group is the benefactor of undue social privilege, it was necessary to collaborate and produce something, even something as simple as a Facebook post, to show solidarity,” Oetting said.

       Later that day, the Men’s Soccer team came out with a similar public statement on their Facebook page, pledging to create a healthy locker room environment and disavowing all forms of racism, sexism, and homophobia.

       “The Swarthmore College Men’s Soccer team echoes the sentiments expressed by Swarthmore Men’s Tennis in response to recent political events.We would like to pledge a renewed commitment to ensuring that racism, sexism, and discrimination of any kind are not welcome within our ranks.”

       The statement went on to address the nature of the Men’s Soccer team’s locker room, and provided a contrast to the recent news surrounding the Harvard Men’s Soccer team, whose season was cancelled after team member emails were uncovered rating girls in a misogynistic manner.

       “Almost every day, we come together in our locker room. ‘Locker room talk,’ as Trump has put it, does not have a place in our locker room. Under absolutely no circumstances are sexist and misogynistic comments acceptable, nor is sexual assault something to boast or joke about. We will be working everyday to ensure that our locker room, and more broadly the culture of our team, will always revolve around care and respect for others.”

       Billy Evers ’17, co-captain of the Men’s Soccer team, noted that the team’s mentality after the election was characterized by solidarity with the campus.

       “We were inspired by the similar post from the Men’s Tennis team, and also by some of our friends outside of the team who suggested it could be helpful to some people who were hurting. Because our locker room is a meaningful space for us, we were also inspired to respond to comments from politicians labeling sexual assault as locker room talk. […] We have had several team meetings about our core values, in which we have discussed relevant issues on campus and how we can work to assure that our impact on community life is a positive one.”

       Fay Blelloch ’20, a member of the Women’s Varsity Lacrosse team, commented on the importance of the Facebook posts and male athletes standing in solidarity with women on campus.

       “I really appreciated that a lot of male sports teams spoke up and showed solidarity with people who were adversely affected by the results of the election. Regardless of whether you are an athlete or not, I thought it was really important that prominent groups on campus decided to renew commitments to diversity, inclusion, and disavowing ‘locker room talk,’ Blelloch said.

       Athletes from many varsity teams at Swarthmore have seemed to unite over the issue, but the need to stay politically engaged on campus remains.

       Jordan Reyes ’19, a member of the Varsity Track and Field team and a key organizer behind the recent school wide walk-out, spoke regarding the need for continued advocacy from student-athletes and all members of the Swarthmore community.

       “Whether you are an athlete or anyone, you have a responsibility to say something about these negative things we are seeing in the news. Sports teams need to speak out because we consist of people, and we as a collective entity need to tell others that we want to make sure everyone feels comfortable in this community and beyond.”

       From professional athletes to student-athletes at Swarthmore, political engagement isn’t just a trend, it’s a civic responsibility for people in positions of public privilege. The Facebook posts following the election from various sports teams on campus go to show that from the professional level to Division III sports, athletes in the 21st century are civically and politically engaged, emblematic of the responsibility that athletes have today.

Weekend Roundup

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Baseball:

The Garnet (19-14, 3-8 CC) are beginning to turn their season around. This week, they went 3-4, sweeping Washington College and taking a game off of Muhlenberg while falling twice to both Johns Hopkins and Gettysburg. In the contests against Washington College, pitching was the story. In game one, Brian Gibbs ’17 and Charles Groppe ’19 combined to pitch eight shutout innings, helping the team earn a 3-2 win. In game two, Nate Booth ’16 picked up his fifth win of the year, throwing six innings and only conceding one run (no earned).

After going 0-4 on the weekend, the Garnet rebounded on Tuesday against Muhlenberg. Again, Booth came up big, throwing six innings and allowing no earned runs. However, it was a different senior who played the role of hero. In the bottom of the seventh, Roy Walker ’16 stepped to the plate with a man on first and the game knotted 5-5. On a 1-1 pitch, Walker walloped a hanging curveball over the left-center field wall. Jackson Ramey ’18 threw a scoreless eighth and fireballer Zach Gonzalez ’19 shut the Mules down in the ninth, picking up his second save of the year. The Garnet travel to Muhlenberg this Thursday and host McDaniel for a double header this Saturday.

Softball:

The team (10-20, 1-9 CC) had a rough weekend, getting swept by Dickinson and Franklin & Marshall. That being said, the Garnet had some bright spots. Specifically, they showed some fight in the final innings. In game two against Dickinson, they entered the bottom of the seventh down 4-0. Mary Olesnavich ’18 led off the inning with a double. The next four batters proceeded to reach base, making it 4-2. With no outs and the bases loaded, Elizabeth Curcio ’19 had a chance to tie the game. She did just that, ripping a two RBI single down the right field line. The game went to extra innings and the Garnet ultimately fell short 5-4. The Garnet host Washington College for a double header this Thursday.

Track:

Both the men’s and women’s teams traveled to Johns Hopkins for a meet last Saturday. Maggie O’Neil ’17 not only recorded a personal best in her javelin (36.6 meters) and hammer throws (35.45 m), but she also set school records in these events. On the men’s side, Noah Rosenberg ’17 also set a personal record with his javelin throw (43.79 m). Rosenberg’s classmate, Zain Hannan ’17 similarly had an impressive day. He came in eighth in the 400 m sprint and twelfth in the 200 m sprint.

 

Women’s Tennis:

Last week, the tennis team came through with two big conference wins. Last Wednesday, they defeated Ursinus 6-3. After dropping all three doubles matches, the Garnet singles players responded. Not only did all six players emerge victorious, but also none of them dropped a set. The team carried this momentum into Saturday where they defeated F&M 6-3. This win was particularly noteworthy because F&M had defeated Swarthmore two years in a row. Swarthmore (5-1) holds sole possession of third place in the conference and has positioned itself in a good position to make the conference tournament. This week, the Garnet have home games against Bryn Mawr on Thursday and Dickinson on Saturday.

 

Men’s Tennis:

The win streak is now at eight games for the men’s tennis team after their 5-4 win against 29th-ranked F&M on Saturday. The Garnet had a 2-1 lead after doubles play thanks to wins by Mark Fallati ’18/Josh Powell ’18 at #1 and John Larkin ’17/Blake Oetting ’18 at # 3. Larkin also earned a win in the #2 singles match, as did Josh Powell at #5 and James Hahn ‘19 at #6. The victory keeps the Garnet undefeated in conference play going into their next match against Dickinson on Saturday at home.

Men’s Lacrosse:

Despite forcing overtime, the men’s lacrosse team were eventually defeated by F&M 9-8 on Saturday. The Garnet had a 4-0 lead going into the second quarter, but were pushed back on their heels as F&M responded with four unanswered goals. The teams were deadlocked for most of the match after that, with F&M holding an 8-7 lead with one minute left in regulation. However, Cam Marsh ’18 was able to score a goal, one of his team-high three for the game, to tie the score at 8-8 and push the game into overtime. Unfortunately for the Garnet, F&M ultimately put in the game-ending goal in overtime. The team’s record is now at 2-3 in conference play and 7-5 overall. They host nationally-ranked conference opponent Dickinson on Saturday.

 

Women’s Lacrosse:

The women’s lacrosse team had its senior day match against F&M on Saturday, where they honored the six seniors on the team: Elizabeth Upton ’16, Christine McGinn ’16, Nathalie Perry-Freer ’16, Lizzie Kolln ’16, Tazmin Baliff-Curtis ’16, and Connie Bowen ’16.  They couldn’t savor the moment for too long though, as they were handily defeated by their opponents, ranked 5th in the country, 15-0. F&M scored 12 of those goals in the first half to seal up the result fairly quickly. The team will get a chance to improve their conference record, 1-4 after the loss, when they play at Dickinson on Saturday.

 

Men’s Ultimate:

After a stellar regular season, the men’s ultimate team played in the East Pennsylvania D-III Conference Championships last weekend. The Earthworms went in seeded 4th but ended the tournament in 3rd place, surprising many teams along the way. The Garnet had a 6-4 lead against Lehigh, a powerhouse ranked 1st in the conference, before they turned on the gas and pulled off the comeback win. They also had a 11-9 lead against Haverford, ranked 2nd in the conference, before losing 12-11. To earn 3rd place, the Worms defeated 3rd-seeded Muhlenberg 12-11 in their last game of the tournament after losing to them earlier in the weekend in pool play. Max Franklin ’19 led the team with 27 assists while Lee Tarlin ’17 had a team-high 16 goals for the weekend. With the result, the Worms earned a bid to the Regional Championships in Oberlin, OH on April 29-30.

Weekend Roundup

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Men’s Lacrosse

On Sunday, the men’s lacrosse team (6-4, 1-2 CC) went out to play nationally-ranked Gettysburg and were overwhelmed en route to a 14-4 loss. Gettysburg started off the game with nine unanswered goals, which prevented the Garnet from ever really getting back into the game. Nathan Relich ’18 scored two goals for the Garnet, while Cam Marsh ’18 and Will Black ’16 also added one apiece. The team has a chance to bring its conference record back up this weekend when they play at Franklin & Marshall on Saturday.

Women’s Lacrosse

Women’s lacrosse (5-6, 1-3 CC) also played Gettysburg, ranked 6th nationally, on Sunday. They did not fare much better than the men’s team as they ultimately lost 14-3. Goalie Connie Bowen ’16 still notched ten saves, but could only do so much against Gettysburg’s 34 shots. Elizabeth Wainwright ’19 and Taylor Chiang ’18 provided goals for the Garnet early on in the game that kept them close, only behind 4-2. However, Gettysburg then scored ten goals that put the game well out of reach. Shivanni Chinnappan ’18 assisted Kathryn Restrepo ’18 with 10:56 left for the Garnet’s third and final goal. The Garnet will face even tougher competition on Saturday, when they host fifth-ranked F&M.

Men’s Tennis

Simply put, the men’s tennis team (10-5, 5-0 CC) cannot be stopped right now. They played Gettysburg on Friday and swept them 9-0, marking their seventh straight win. At doubles, the teams of Mark Fallati ’18/Josh Powell ’18, Ari Cepelewicz ’18/Thomas Vernier ’17, and James Hahn ’19/John Larkin ’17 defeated their opponents easily. Everyone gave stellar performances in singles as well, kicked off by Evan Han ’19 at No. 5 singles blanking his opponent for a 6-0, 6-0 win. The Garnet, currently ranked 24th in the country, will have their undefeated conference record challenged when they play at F&M this Saturday.

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team (4-5, 3-1 CC) continued their solid run against conference opponents on Friday night with an 8-1 win against Gettysburg. The only loss of the day came on No. 1 doubles. Although most of the singles matches were pretty straightforward wins, the No. 1 and No. 2 matches were slightly closer. At No. 1, Julia Gokhberg ’19 lost her first set before rebounding to win the final two 7-4 and 10-8. Arya Jemal ’19 also went to three sets at No. 2, but in the end had a solid 6-0, 2-6. 6-4 victory. The Garnet will be heading out to play F&M on Saturday.

Softball

The softball team (10-16, 1-5 CC) went into last Tuesday’s doubleheader against Rosemont College needing a win to break their four-game losing streak. They ended up getting two, blanking Rosemont 6-0 and 11-0 to sweep the day. In game 1, McKenzie Ward ’19 pitched a gem, recording the complete game shutout and 11 strikeouts. In game two, Emily Bowman ’18 and Frankie Ponziani ’18 combined for the shutout, combining for 10 strikeouts and allowing only one hit. On offense, Marit Vike ’19 and Bekah Katz ’19 contributed significantly in both games. Vike went 4-for-7 on the day, driving in two runs and scoring two more. Katz went 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. The team will try to carry its momentum into its next game against conference opponent Dickinson at home on Saturday, followed by F&M on Sunday.

Baseball

Last Friday, the men’s baseball team (16-10, 0-4 CC) hosted crosstown rival Haverford and came up short, losing, 10-0. The loss was their sixth in a row, dating back to March. Wesley Fishburn ’17 still found some success on the day, going 2-for-5 at the top of the order. After Haverford scored ten runs in the first seven innings, pitcher Griffin Kammerer ’18 came in for relief and settled things down, allowing only one hit and no walks during the final two innings. The Garnet have a busy weekend coming up, with games against conference opponents Washington College, Johns Hopkins, and Gettysburg.

Track & Field

The men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the Osprey Open at Stockton University on Saturday. The men had four out of the top five finishes in the 800-meter run, including Ethan Lee ’16 who placed first with a time of 2:28.29. For the women, Kate Hannah ’17 put up the best performance, placing first in the 1500-meter run. The two teams also sent two runners apiece to compete at Princeton on Friday. In addition to Katie Jo McMenamin ‘17 pulling off an amazing result in the 5K (see our Athlete of the Week for more info!), Spencer Friske ’16 also did well with a second place finish in the 5K in 14:50.87, the second-best time in school history.

Men’s Tennis Breaks History, Takes Down #21 Hopkins

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From Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak to Rafael Nadal’s 39-match French Open winning streak, all records eventually come to an end. The Johns Hopkins tennis team learned that painful lesson this past Saturday against the Garnet.

Entering the match, #21 Johns Hopkins (5-1, 1-0 CC) had not lost a conference match in ten years. They had amassed an 84-game conference winning streak while winning ten conference titles. Last year, they swept the Garnet on two separate occasions – once in the regular season and the other in the Conference finals. However, that team featured a senior heavy lineup that graduated their No. 2, 4, 5 and 6 singles players.

The #24 Garnet, on the other hand, returned four of their six singles players including their top three: Mark Fallati ’18, John Larkin ’17 and Ari Cepelewicz ’18. Heading into the match, they knew what to expect and were eager for another shot at the defending champion.

“I felt pretty confident that we would be going in at our best and that they would come in at their best,” Fallati said. “I think what we wanted to prove most was that we could hang with these guys, which we didn’t prove last year. And I really felt like we had the ability to do that this year whereas last year we were totally overmatched.”

As soon as the first three matches – the doubles matches – began, it was clear this year was going to be different. Swarthmore’s number one doubles team of Fallati/Josh Powell ’18 battled the Hopkins team, holding serve eight times in a row to force a tiebreaker at 8-8. Though they lost the tiebreaker 8-6, they helped establish a precedent of intensity and resiliency for the singles matches.

Like Fallati/Powell, the number two doubles team of Cepelewicz and Simon Vernier ’19 grinded it out but fell short 8-5. Third doubles was a different story. Coming into the match, Larkin and Blake Oetting ’18 had a lot to play for. In the conference final last year, Larkin and Oetting lost their doubles match 8-0. Though this loss burned for a little, this year was a new year. By Saturday, Larkin and Oetting had more than moved on.

“Blake and I have a pretty short term memory in terms of wins and losses,” Larkin said. “We came in with fresh heads and we’ve been playing some really good ‘dubs’ recently, so we were pretty confident.”

Their confidence paid dividends, as they were able to dictate the pace of play and capture an 8-5 victory. The win cut the Hopkins lead in half, making it 2-1 going into singles play.

Before the singles matches started, the top three players had a short meeting on the first court.

Larkin remembered, “Mark and Ari came over to my court and were like ‘today’s our day. This is what we’ve worked for.’ We felt like we were kind of due for it.”

Though the team might have been due for it, they still had to “do” it. At first singles, Fallati had a daunting task. His opponent, Mike Buxbaum, is one of the best players in the country. Last year, Buxbaum ranked as high as #4 in the nation and earned a trip to the NCAA national semifinals. Though Buxbaum had a golden resume, this year Fallati was actually ranked higher than Buxbaum (8th in the Atlantic South region as opposed to 13th).

In the match, Fallati showed just why the polled coaches thought so highly of him. He was able to dictate the pace of the game, quelling Buxbaum’s power with his own strength and great court coverage. In the first set, Fallati and Buxbaum went back and forth. At 5-4, Buxbaum faltered on his serve and Fallati capitalized, taking the first set 6-4.

The second set was similar to the first. Fallati went down an early break only to break right back. Then, at 4-4 Fallati held, giving him a chance to break Buxbaum for the match. Fallati refused to back down, continued applying pressure and came away with the decisive break and the match: 6-4, 6-4.

Fallati said, “I just had to play my game to get to the finish line. I felt pretty confident most of the match that I had the ability to do it. It was just a matter of executing, putting it all together, making him feel pressured to have to beat me instead of me having to beat him.”

At the same time Fallati was playing, Larkin and Cepelewicz were also engaged in dogfights. Larkin, at number two singles, played Jeremy Dubin, an opponent Larkin defeated two years ago, 6-3, 6-2. After winning the first set 7-5, Larkin hit a speed bump in the second. Dubin got an early break and was serving to go up 4-2. The game, one of the longest of the match, went back and forth, featuring multiple deuces. But, Larkin was able to bare down, get the break and even up the score 3-3. After this turning point, Larkin elevated his game even further and won the last three to close out the win 7-5, 6-3.

Cepelewicz, the last member of the big three, had the most exhausting match. After taking the first set 7-6, he dropped the second 2-6 and had to rebound quickly in the third. At 5-5 in the third, Cepelewicz got a much needed break and then closed the match out on his serve, giving the Garnet a 4-2 lead.

With a chance to clinch, Simon Vernier ’19 and James Hahn ’19 pushed their opponents to the brink but ultimately fell short 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 and 6-4, 7-6 respectively.

Heading into number 6 singles, the score was knotted at 4 and the fate was in the hands of Powell. Lucky for Powell, he had actually been in this situation before. A little over a month ago against Stevens Tech, Powell had a chance to break the 4-4 tie and secure a win for the Garnet. In that match, after losing the first set, Powell rebounded and captured the second 7-5. However, due to an injury, Powell retired, giving the win to Stevens in the process.

This match was a different story. Powell came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. He took the first set 6-3 and began the second set with the same intensity. Powell and his opponent went back and forth, forcing a tiebreaker at 6-6.

“I felt like this was a ridiculous amount of pressure to put on one person,” Fallati said. “I think we all had a feeling when it got to that second set breaker that if anybody was perfect for that situation, it would be Josh. He would be so motivated, and we knew how badly he wanted it. And we were all super confident that he would get the job done.”

In the tiebreaker, Powell fell behind 1-2. However, he reeled off five of the next eight points, earning the mini-break back and giving himself a chance to serve for the match at 6-5. Yet, rather than serving right away, Powell did something unusual for tennis. He turned to the Mullan Center crowd and called for them to get loud. Though the fans were rowdy, Powell remained cool and collected.

“I was just thinking that I had to make a first serve and I had to go for my shots,” Powell said. “In tight situations, it is always better if you don’t think too much.”

In this case, Powell must have had a clear head. He made his first serve, forcing a poor return. Then, Powell hit a commanding forehand which led to a Hopkins unforced error, clinching the personal and the team victory.

With the win, Swarthmore controls its own destiny. If they win out, they will host the conference tournament for the first time in over a decade. But, arguably more importantly, the win will catapult the Garnet up in the rankings, sending a message to the nation that Swarthmore is on the rise and here to stay.

“We really believed at the beginning of the season that we had all of the pieces necessary to make a move up in the rankings and achieve our goals,” Fallati said. “But, what we needed was to be able to put it together on a given day. Now that we’ve been able to do that in the biggest situation that we could have imagined, I think that there isn’t a team in our conference or out of our conference that we couldn’t take down.”

Weekend Roundup

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Baseball:

The team (16-5) was off this past weekend. This Saturday, 4/2, they travel to Dickinson for a doubleheader—their first conference games of the season. Heading into Conference play, Ryan Burnett ’17 leads the league in steals (13), Aidan Miller ’17 leads the league in saves (4) and Joe Jackson ’18 ranks second in home runs (4).

Women’s Tennis:

Last Saturday, the Garnet (3-3, 2-0 CC) made quick work of McDaniel, sweeping all of their matches (9-0). In the nine matches, the women only dropped eight games total. Maria Cuervo ’18, Ashley Gao ’18 and Arya Jemal ’19 all won by the score 6-0, 6-0. Jemal, with her partner Amanda Izes ’19, also won her doubles match without conceding a game (8-0). Her impressive play earned her the title of Conference Player of the Week for March 21-27. The Garnet’s next opponent is The College of New Jersey. They will face-off this Saturday at the Faulkner Courts.

Men’s Tennis:

The men’s tennis team (5-5, 1-0 CC), ranked 31st in the country, also had a great Saturday, pulling off a 7-2 upset victory against 20th-ranked Washington & Lee. It began with a sweep of all three doubles matches, with the teams of John Larkin ’16 and Blake Oetting ’18, Mark Fallati ’18 and Josh Powell ’18, and Ari Cepelewicz ’18 and Simon Vernier ’19 earning the wins. Then, in singles play, the Garnet won the No. 1, No. 3, No. 5, and No. 6 matches. Fallati, after winning in doubles and the No.1 match, was named Centennial Conference Player of the Week. The team’s next opponent will be conference rivals Johns Hopkins on Saturday at home.

Men’s Lacrosse:

Despite an impressive 4-2 start to the season, the men’s lacrosse team lost 18-8 against Ursinus on Saturday in their first conference game of the season. After Ursinus went up 9-1 in the first quarter, the closest the Garnet ever got was a six-goal deficit in the second quarter. Matt Johnson ’18, who had missed two games due to injury, had a team-high three goals. Overall, though, the Garnet were outdone offensively, as they were outshot by Ursinus 45-25. The team will be looking for a better outcome in their next game at non-conference opponent Misericordia on Saturday.

Women’s Lacrosse:

This past weekend, Swarthmore (3-4, 0-1 CC) traveled to Ursinus for their first conference match. After a hot start that included two goals each from Elizabeth Upton ’16 and Lizzie Kolln ’16, the Garnet burst out to a 9-2 lead. However, in the second half, the lead quickly dissipated and the game went into overtime. With 22 seconds left in period, Swarthmore conceded a goal which capped off Ursinus’ impressive comeback. The team hopes to rebound in their next conference match against Bryn Mawr this Saturday at Clothier Field.

Golf:

This weekend the Garnet finished fifth out of eleven teams at the McDaniel Spring Invitational. Nick DiMaio ’19 led the Garnet, shooting a +6. He placed sixth out of sixty-three participants. Michael Chen ’17 also had a good weekend, shooting a +9 and finishing in 12th place. The Garnet play their next match on April 3 at Hershey Country Club.

Softball:

The past week did not go so well for the softball team, who struggled through a five-game losing streak that was finally broken Tuesday night. The first two losses were during a doubleheader on Thursday against Widener, in which the Garnet were outscored by a total of 16-2. Against Penn State in a doubleheader on Saturday, the team didn’t fare much better despite playing at home and lost both games. Things were starting to look grim when the Garnet lost the first game of the doubleheader against Muhlenberg, but they finally came through in the nightcap for a 3-2 victory. Despite starting down 2-0, the team rallied back in the fifth with runs from Marit Vike ’19, Amanda Lopez ’19, and Sara Planthaber ’17. Now, the team has a chance to build some momentum in their next matchup, a doubleheader at conference opponents Gettysburg on Saturday.

Badminton:

On Sunday, the women’s badminton team went out to Edison, N.J., to compete in the Northeast Collegiate Championship. There, they placed third out of five teams in the Division 2B bracket with a 2-2 record, earning wins against University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Mary Htet ’19 and Hailie Xie ’19 both won eight games. The team’s next competition will be the Pennsylvania State Open on April 8-9.

Men’s tennis puts together solid ITA showing

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Through immense effort and dedication at practice this season, the men’s tennis team has proven that they are dedicated players with a propensity for success. The team’s most recent competition took place at the ITA Southeast Regional Tournament where they established themselves as formidable on the court. This tournament pinpointed areas of their performance that can be improved, and formulated their hopes and goals for the team moving forward.

During the first week of October, the men packed up their bags and headed to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where they competed against players from a number of top schools including #12 Johns Hopkins. The team brought three freshmen to the competition, all of whom stepped up to the plate to play doubles in the A flight, which is the highest ranked division of the tournament. While the doubles matches highlighted an area of play where the men can certainly improve, their singles performance proved that, in the words of Mark Fallati ’18, “The entire team is not just nationally competitive but is ready to beat anyone in D3.”

The ITA tournament consists of three rounds of matches between 64 individual players. This means that the “round of 64” is the first round where no competitors have been eliminated yet. The “round of 32” is the second round, and the “round of 16” is the final round with only sixteen players left standing. This year, John Larkin ’17 and Fallati advanced to the round of 16, making the 2015 ITAs the first time that Swarthmore has advanced any singles player so far since 2009.

Although the team only took home one win out of its three doubles matches, Larkin didn’t think it was a bad sign.

“Only one out of our three doubles teams won a match,” Larkin said. “This may seem like an indication of rough doubles teams, but I think it was due to just getting back into the match level of things.” Practicing is always different than competing, and Larkin thinks that while he and his teammates have certainly contributed quality time and effort at practice, it is an understandable challenge to shift from practice level play to match level play.

Apart from doubles, the team members met some welcome challenges in singles, with a few draws in terms of competitors. Ari Cepelewicz ’18 took on the number one seeded Johns Hopkins player. Although Cepelewicz lost this match, the team views it as more of an unlucky draw than a faulty performance on Cepelewicz’s part. Similarly, Josh Powell ’18 competed against a Washington and Lee player who was seeded number four and ultimately fell to him as well.

Fallati explained that, “Playing two of the top four guys in the first round is really bad luck,” so the team didn’t take these singles losses too harshly.

Before falling to a challenging Carnegie Mellon player in the round of 32, Simon Vernier ’19 competed against and defeated who Head Coach Mike Mullan referred to as an “experienced” Johns Hopkins player. This performance indicated that Vernier ’19 will be a challenge to opposition in springtime matches.

The highlights of singles play were both Larkin’s and Fallati’s performances as they both reached the round of 16 in the championship draw for singles. Fallati ’18 faced Abhishek Alla, a Carnegie Mellon player who was seeded both as the number two ITA tournament player and as the seventh player in the country for singles. Fallati gave Alla a fierce challenge when he won the second set in a tiebreak 6-7, then barely lost the third, 7-5.  Fallati was the only player to rattle Alla, who ultimately went on to win the entire ITA tournament.

Although their singles play was strong throughout the tournament, Michael Song ’18 voiced what seemed to be the consensus of the entire team when he said, “I feel that our weakness is still doubles as it has been before but of course there is still the entire winter off-season to improve. Going against top teams it is not enough to just have a strong singles lineup. Getting points from our doubles is key in these crucial and tight matches.” While improving the doubles lineup presents a challenge, it is a goal that can certainly be achieved.

In addition to undeniably positive team chemistry amongst team members, the team is motivated and eager to perform well this spring. Larkin believes that if the team adds a little extra punch to their play, they will go far.

“We just need to want the ball and have that extra fight to push through and cause a really big break,” he said. “We need to take practice seriously and make the most out of what precious time we really have at Swat.”

Mullan believes that the winter will provide the team with sufficient time to train for the spring season, which will open with indoor matches in February against Stevens Tech and NYU. Over spring break, the team will travel to Walla Walla, Washington for the Whitman Invitational. This trip will give the team the opportunity to compete against Portland State and Seattle University. In terms of goals for the spring season, Head Coach Mullan said, “Our out-of-conference schedule is pretty tough and we hope to pull off a few wins over teams ranked in Division III; in conference, we would like to be in position once again to play for the conference team title.”

In the meantime, the men will focus on practice and will work hard to achieve their immediate goal of improving their doubles lineup. Like any solid competitor, the team has spent time identifying definite goals and will now begin to dedicate the time and effort needed in order to achieve them. The men look forward to the spring when they begin at-home competition and travel to away games in the hopes of bringing back victories.

Weekend Roundup

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Baseball

The baseball team closed out its season with a 4-1 victory away at Gwynedd Mercy on Monday. Nathan Booth ’16 allowed one unearned run and fanned six in a complete game effort, while the offense provided one run each in the fifth through eighth innings.

Over the weekend, the team struggled in its final conference matchups of the season. On Friday, the Garnet lost their final home game 12-6 against Ursinus. Cal Barnett-Mayotte ’18 had a notable game, going 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI. The team tried but could not come back from a deficit that got as wide as nine runs during the sixth inning.

On Saturday, the Garnet were swept in a doubleheader at Franklin & Marshall by scores of 6-1 and 5-2. The team committed five errors during the first game, contributing to the four unearned runs given up by pitcher Aidan Miller ’17. Both teams were only able to muster up five hits during the first game.

F&M took command in the first inning of the second game by scoring three runs. Max Kassan ’18 took the loss for the Garnet after giving up five runs and 11 hits, while Barnett-Mayotte contributed a run and an RBI.

Although they did not make the playoffs, the team can be proud of earning their sixth straight winning season after going 18-17.

Men’s Tennis

On Saturday, the men’s tennis team closed out a stellar regular season with an 8-1 victory at Haverford. The team’s final record is 12-5 overall and 8-1 in conference play.

The Garnet won all three of their doubles matches. Classmates Mark Fallati ’18 and Ari Cepelewicz ’18 earned the win at first doubles, Harrison Lands ’15 and Josh Powell ’18 at second doubles, and John Larkin ’17 and Blake Oetting ’18 at third doubles.

In singles play, Larkin earned his second win of the day at first doubles. Fallati narrowly lost his match at second doubles 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 1-0 (10-7). Cepelewicz and Oetting also earned two wins after victories in singles play, while Yosuke Higashi ’18 and Michael Song ’18 added wins at fifth and sixth singles respectively.

After the match, the Garnet ranked sixth regionally and 27th nationally. They are seeded second for the Centennial Conference Tournament which will begin at home on May 2 at 1 p.m. They will play F&M; if they win, they will go on to play in the finals at Johns Hopkins on May 3.

Women’s Tennis

In their last match, the women’s tennis team lost 9-0 to Johns Hopkins at home on Saturday. With the loss, the team narrowly missed the chance to qualify for the Centennial Conference Tournament. They ended the season as fifth seed in the conference after Muhlenberg won a tiebreaker for fourth seed later in the day.

The Garnet fought valiantly against sixth-ranked Johns Hopkins, but was not able to avoid the sweep. The loss put their final record at a respectable 9-8 overall and 5-5 in-conference.

The team also lost last Thursday at Haverford 2-7. Rachel Bronkema ’18 and Ashley

Gao ’18 won their match at third doubles, while Alli Wong ’17 earned the team’s second point with a win at first doubles after three intense sets.

All nine players currently on the roster will be returning for the team’s next season. Six of these are first-years and one is a sophomore, indicating that the team will only continue to grow and add to their achievements in the foreseeable future.

Track & Field

The men’s and women’s track & field teams competed in two events this weekend, the Penn Relays on Friday and the Lion Invite on Saturday at the College of New Jersey. They both had notable performances and look to be in solid shape for the fast-approaching Centennial Conference Championships.

At the Penn Relays, the men’s team fielded a 4×100 meter relay team in the college division and a 4×400 meter relay team in the POP Haddleton MAC race. The next afternoon at the Lion Invite, the same 4×100 team consisting of Jason Heo ’15, Zain Hannan ’17, Peter Sayde ’17, and Tim Vaughn-Ogunlusi ’15 had a third-place finish of 43.76 seconds. Other notable performances included Erick White ’15, who was fourth place in the 800-meter run and John Gagnon ’17, who earned second place in the 5000-meter run.

Osazenoriuwa Ebose ’15 kept adding to her list of achievements at the Penn Relays, where she set the Centennial Conference shot put record with a 46-feet, 10.75-inch toss. Out of 50 competitors, she was sixth in the shot put as well as 20th in the discus throw. At the Lion Invite, Lulu Allen-Waller ’17 finished second in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles as well as eighth in the 100-meter high hurdles. Jenna Cody ’16 also performed well, placing fourth in the 5000 meter run.

The Garnet will compete next at the Centennial Conference Championships, which will be at Muhlenberg this weekend.

Golf

The men’s golf team headed out to play the Centennial Conference Championships last weekend at DuPont Country Club. The men’s program finished the tournament third out of seven teams.

The men recorded a total of 931 at the tournament. Andrew Park ’15 finished fifth with a 226 and qualifies for a spot on the All-Conference team. Michael Chen ’17 was next for the Garnet at 12th with a score of 237. Yousaf Razvi ’18, Andrew Pak ’16, and Drew Langan ’17 had overall scores of 237, 238, and 240 respectively.

Amanda Beebe ’15 entered the women’s championships at Blue Ridge Country Club as an individual. She was 21st after the first day and had a score of 111 in the second round en route to finishing 28th out of 33 players. Beebe finished with a total score of 213. She was the only woman on the team as well as a tri-captain.

Men’s Lacrosse

After initially starting off with a lead, the men’s lacrosse team lost at Haverford 14-8 on Saturday. The Garnet had a 6-2 lead early in the second quarter but were the subjects of a Haverford comeback that included 10 unanswered goals. Haverford took the lead in the third quarter and never gave it back; by the fourth quarter, they led by margins as large as six goals.

Andrew Preiser ’15 had four assists, while seven different players scored for the Garnet. Cole Fox ’17 took the loss after making 11 saves. As a team, the Garnet were outdone by Haverford in most categories. They were outshot 36-24, committed 21 turnovers to Haverford’s 17, had 24 ground balls to Haverford’s 36, and lost the faceoffs battle 14-11.

The Garnet’s final game this season was last night against Vassar at home. As of Saturday, the team had an overall record of 6-8 and finished conference play with a record of 1-7. After a hot 6-2 start this season, the team struggled to win games in the stretch and will look to improve its performance next season.

Women’s Lacrosse

The women’s lacrosse team ended its season at home against Haverford last Saturday, who they lost to 17-10. Although the Garnet matched Haverford in the second half, recovering from a 10-3 deficit after the first half proved too difficult.

Elyse Tierney ’15 opened up scoring for the Garnet to tie the game 1-1 early in the first half. However, Haverford soon went on a run to build a 5-1 lead. Taylor Chiang ’18 broke up Haverford’s streak with a goal to make it 5-2, with Kathryn Restrepo ’18 scoring seconds later to close the gap to 5-3. Haverford then scored five unanswered goals to close out the first half.

The Garnet were unable to challenge for the lead after that. Sara Lentricchia ’15 led the team with three goals and one assist. Restrepo added three goals total, Tierney had two, and Christina Labows ’18 also scored a goal. Connie Bowen ’16 took the loss after making seven saves.

After an encouraging 6-3 start, the Garnet lost seven of their last eight games and ended the season with four consecutive losses. The team will look to improve next season on its 7-9 overall and 2-7 conference record.

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