Mount Tennis Fall Recap: Hammond’s Milestone, Freshmen Dominance Provide Lasting Memories

The Mount men’s and women’s tennis teams wrapped up their fall seasons over two weeks ago with records of 2-0 and 3-1 respectfully. The season was filled with plenty of storylines including a coach reaching an historic milestone and two freshmen showing that they could be competitive forces in NEC conference play for years to come.

The men’s team had a rough time in invitational play early on. On Sept. 5-7, they were on the road at the Bucknell Invitational. Two weeks later, they were at George Mason. At the GMU Invitational, the Mountaineers failed to come away with victories in any single or double matches. The teams representing Mary Washington, George Mason, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County proved to be too much for Mount Saint Mary’s at this two-day event.

The team took a break from invitational play on Sept. 24 when they faced off with Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. On this day, they got their first victory of the season with an 8-1 beat down of the Rams. Sophomore Mateo DeSomocurcio led the way by winning a match in singles and doubles play. By the end of the fall season, he would be tied for the most single wins on the team with six.

On Oct. 19, the team had their first home match of the season versus Rider. They came away with their second win of the season in a 5-2 victory. The victory also marked the 100th win for head coach Phil Hammond. The milestone was a significant one for Hammond who has been coaching the squad for 11 years.

Sophomore Darren Mast and DeSomocurcio lead the team with six single wins. The doubles team of Austin Blake and Brandon Wortkotter has posted a 5-0 record, while the team of Mast and sophomore Louis Tonon are 4-0 up to this point.

On the women’s side, three separate invitational events prepared the squad for their first match at Shepherd. The Mason Invitational was on Sept. 6, The Tiger Classic was Sept. 12-14, and the Bucknell Invitational was on Sept. 19 and 20.

After all this preparation, the squad was more than ready to take on Shepherd on Sept. 24. The game was played on the road, but the team was able to come away with a convincing 9-0 victory. The team suffered a setback on Oct. 8 with a 6-1 loss to Towson in the home opener. However, the team bounced back with back to back wins at home versus Monmouth and Rider on Oct. 18 and 19.

The weekend of the Monmouth and Rider games was a coming of age moment for two freshmen players, Cassandra Powell and Sruthi Kamparth. The duo won their double matches in both games, and they did it convincingly. Powell noted that she and Kamparth were playing “some of their best tennis” at the end of the fall season. Kamparth added that she and Powell “have gotten used to each other’s hitting styles and where the other one is on the court” as the fall season progressed.

Kamparth/Powell led the team with seven doubles wins, while the team of senior Jennifer Smith and sophomore Kelly Smith tacked on four doubles wins. In singles play, Powell led the way with six wins. She was also honored as the NEC women’s tennis rookie of the month for October.

A long offseason awaits both the men and women tennis squads. However, they are aware that there is plenty of work that needs to be done. Powell and Kamparth agree that the team can improve by doing a better job of “closing out matches.” Kamparth noted the improving stamina will be a key in doing this. On the men’s side, senior Will Briscoe thinks that the biggest thing his team can work on is the mental side of their game. As he put it, “It’s more of a mental thing than anything else. We practice better than we play.”

The men will return to action on Feb. 14 with a match at Howard. The women will be back on the court on Feb. 21 versus Wagner. In March, the team will make their annual trip to Orlando, FL.

Josh Karlheim

Staff Writer for The Mountain Echo

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