The Fordham men’s tennis team is undefeated no more. The much more experienced Saint Joseph’s Hawks rolled over the young Rams (6-1) and handed them their first loss of the season.
In spite of coming off of their most dominant win of the season last week, a 7-0 trouncing of Saint Peter’s, the deck was stacked against the Rams as they took on their A-10 rival. First, facing off with the Hawks did not conjure fond memories for Fordham because they were swept by Saint Joseph’s 7-0 in a matchup last season. Secondly, the Rams are a young team, featuring only two seniors in comparison to the experienced Hawks, who boast five fourth-year players. Head coach Michael Sowter knew all too well about the challenges that the opponent posed: “Saint Joseph’s has a lot of upperclassmen and had beaten us last year so we knew that they would be a tough opponent.”
The match opened with Fordham’s continued struggle in the doubles game. If there was one problem with the victory over Saint Peter’s, it was the close matches in doubles play. The problems continued, but in even greater fashion on Saturday.
“We hit too many double faults and with the new no-ad scoring format, you cannot afford to give up any free points,” said Sowter.
Saint Joseph’s took all three matches to secure the point. The Rams’ top doubles pairing of senior Pedro Alonso and sophomore Joseph Kavaloski did not win a single game against the Hawks’ top players Renier Moolman and Andres Urrea in a 6-0 thrashing. Senior Nick Borak and freshman Victor Li put in the best doubles effort, but still came up short in a 7-6 defeat, courtesy of Kyle Chalmers and Peter Dewitt. Junior Tomas Cosmai and sophomore Cameron Posillico took two games in a 6-2 loss to the Andre Fick and Dan Tan pair.
Singles play began innocently enough, with the two teams splitting the first two positions. Moolman topped Cosmai in straight sets (6-2, 6-4) and Li got Fordham on the board with a three-set rout of Urrea. That would be the only point the Rams posted, as the Hawks took the next four singles points. Saint Joseph’s was as dominant as a team could be, taking each position in straight sets. The losers — Alonso, Borak, Kavaloski and Posillico — all had won their positions in straight sets against Saint Peter’s, but they faced the other side of the coin on Saturday. The closest contests came from Borak and Pocillico in the fourth and sixth spots. The Hawks’ Tristan Boustany, who did not participate in doubles competition, topped Borak (6-4, 6-4). After a 6-2 loss to Kevin Gates in the first set, Posillico took the Hawk senior to a 13-game set, the longest of singles play.
In a match where bright spots were few and far between, the Rams fought hard in their sweep losses, posting better results in the second set of each match. Coach Sowter was uplifted by the fact that his players did not give up. “That shows me that nobody gave up and we are developing a more competitive culture,” Sowter said.
The loss drops Fordham to 3-1 on the year. They will be right back at it with a double header at the Lifetime Athletic Center on Sunday. Colgate takes the court at 2 p.m. and Villanova follows at 7 p.m.