Men’s tennis defeats Denison University 6–3

Fans of the Carnegie Mellon tennis teams were finally able to watch the kind of tennis that has propelled the women’s and men’s teams to rankings of seventh and 13th, respectively. On Tuesday at home, the women were outgunned by Division I University of Pittsburgh 8–1, but the next day, the men rebounded from a slow start to defeat Denison University 6–3.

On a chilly, windy Tuesday at the campus tennis courts, the women’s team took on Pitt. The women ended on the opposite side of an 8–1 rout, something they would usually inflict on opponents. Still, the first-year pairing of Kelly Hart and Ashley Herrick won their doubles match 8–5.

Senior Amy Staloch and first-year Jennifer Chui put up the strongest fights in singles. Staloch used her counterpunching ability to frustrate Pitt player Kristy Borza. Staloch held on as long as she could, succumbing 6–2, 7–5, unable to get to a tiebreaker.

Chui, standing well inside the court, used her power to dictate play, moving Pitt opponent Sabrina Visram side to side before getting the open court. Chui seemed to want to get to the net to steal time from her opponent and finish points more easily, but she often got caught up by deep slices from Visram, whose consistent ability to retrieve Chui’s shots proved the deciding factor in the match, which Visram won 6–1, 5–7, 1–0 (10–5).

“In tiebreakers, I get nervous,” Chui said, “so I try to hit through the ball and play my game. Either that or just close my eyes and hope that it goes in.”

The women’s record now stands at 11–4.

On Wednesday, the 13th-ranked men’s team took on Denison University. In the three doubles matches, which were played first, the Denison coach seemed to have all of the answers to the Tartans on his novelty clipboard shaped like a green tennis court; Denison won two of the three matches.

In one of the matches, first-year Bobby MacTaggart partnered with sophomore James Muliawan in an 8–5 defeat. MacTaggart struggled with his serve and even launched one over the fence, sending him and Muliawan into a 7-2 hole early. The two staved off defeat the first time Denison served for the match at 7–2, but when Denison next served for the match at 7–5, the Tartans were unable to break the Denison serve again.

In singles, however, the Tartans roared back, taking the match 6–3. MacTaggart got his serve under control and won his singles match 6–4, 6–3.

“I looked at that singles match as essentially a chance to redeem myself for my poor doubles performance,” MacTaggart said. “I also fall back on the fact that I have always been a better singles player. The coaching also helps as far as Coach gave us the sole goal of playing with positive energy and fire in our bellies. He gave us this goal in-between doubles and singles because he saw that during doubles we were lethargic.”

The men’s record now stands at 12–4.

The men travel to Virginia next Friday to play University of Mary Washington. The women play at home again Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. against Mercyhurst College.