Xavier tennis opens season with close losses to Big Ten

By Spencer Tracy, Staff Writer

Xavier men’s and women’s tennis teams opened their long seasons on the road against Ohio State and Penn State. The men’s team is coming off a 12-9 season which unfortunately ended with a loss to DePaul in the second round of the Big East Tournament. 

However, the women’s team had a strong 14-10 season last year including a Big East championship earning themselves an invite to the NCAA Tournament only to be knocked out by Vanderbilt in the first round. With a new year ahead, both squads are in search of a run for the Big East crown with the women hoping to defend their title and make another run in the NCAA Tournament. 

Columbus welcomed the men’s team into town to take on Ohio State as the Muskies looked to complete the upset and come out on top.Freshman Deacon Thomas paired up with sophomore Ryan Cahill in their doubles match to open the series, but the powerhouse Buckeyes held on beating the pair 3-2 in the first set. 

Photo courtesy of goxavier.com

Redshirt junior Kat Lyman led the way for Xavier, going 2-0 on the day, propelling Xavier to a doubles point win and winning No. 2 singles.

The second set did not finish. Lacing up for the next match was freshman Kyle Totorica who was also making his debut for the Muskies, as he  partnered with senior Cambell Nakayama. Ohio State’s firepower overwhelmed the Musketeers dropping the second doubles match 6-0. The struggles continued for the Musketeers in the singles sets despite strong efforts from Thomas who lost his second set 6-4 and Cahill who fell short 6-3 in his second set. 

The women’s team traveled to University Park, PA to take on the Nittany Lions and build off a strong 2022 season. Acting like Big East Champions, junior Kat Lyman and freshman Abby Nugent won their match 7-5 setting the tone. Penn State answered with a dominant 6-1 win, but the Muskies weren’t intimidated as the freshman pair Emily Flowers and Paulina Franco Martinessi grinded it out for a 6-3 win. Xavier led 2-1 heading into the singles matches. 

Xavier had all the momentum with a 75-54 record in singles matches last season, while Penn State treaded above .500 with a 56-54 singles record. However, a new season begins, and everything gets thrown out the window as the Nittany Lions take five of the six singles matches. 

Despite a tough outcome, Xavier can hang their heads high after strong performances from Nugent and Lyman. Nugent and Lyman won their doubles match, and Nugent put up a fight in her singles match, winning the second set but falling just short in the final set 6-4. Lyman was the only Musketeer to win her singles match by sweeping her opponent 6-2, 7-5.

The men’s team left Columbus with a sour flavor in their mouths, as did the women’s team who were also not satisfied with their outcome. Both teams will take on Northern Kentucky on the road this Friday with higher aspirations as there are still times to deepen their seasons with playoff pushes in May.