Tennis competes in Florida over spring break

There’s no rest for the weary. After winning four out of five matches against ranked teams in California over spring break, the Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team lost a tight match 6–3 to 27th-ranked Washington & Lee University Saturday in Virginia. The women, who also won four of five spring break matches, had a week off.
The Tartan men, currently ranked 13th, had their chances against W&L. Sophomores James Muliawan (6–4, 6–2) and Ravi Raghavan (7–5, 7–6) and the sophomore/first-year team of Jon Spero and Alex Nemerov (8–5) all won their matches. Spero lost an epic match in a third-set tiebreaker, and senior Andrew Clearfield surrendered his serve in a third set that ended 7–5.
The men’s record moved to 11–4 on the season, with four of those victories coming over spring break. The men lived up to their number-13 ranking in beating lower-ranked teams and even went so far as to upset number-11 Bowdoin College. The 5–4 victory was wrapped up quickly, as Nemerov clinched it at 5–2.
“The victories over ranked teams is nice in that it shows that our hard work is paying off and that we are earning our spot among the top teams in the country,” said head coach Andy Girard. “Both teams were ranked high in the preseason; it’s nice to back up those rankings with some great wins.” However, the team ran out of energy, falling to number-15 University of Redlands in the last match of their California tour.
Over spring break, there was no shortage of drama on the women’s side. The sixth-ranked team beat number-18 Claremont Mudd-Scripps College comfortably before surviving a nail-biter against number-21 University of the South. In that match, with the score knotted at 4–4, sophomore Alisa Liebowitz, the lone Carnegie Mellon player left on the court, kept her cool to win a third-set tiebreaker and clinch the Tartans’ victory. Liebowitz and first-year Brooke Loar also won a tight doubles match 9–8(2).
The team dropped a lopsided decision 6–1 to Bowdoin College ranked 25th, but the players cleared their minds and took out 10th ranked Redlands 5–4. First-year Kelly Hart won the deciding match, rallying from behind for a 4–6, 6–1, 6–3 victory.
“Being the decisive match definitely put a lot of pressure on me, more so than another match would have,” Hart said. “But, my teammates and coaches were all there supporting me, and it’s a great feeling to know I won it for the team.”
The team followed the win over Redlands with a solid 7–2 victory over eighth-ranked Pomona College. The team’s overall record is now 11–3. “The teams are very resilient and have a tremendous amount of confidence. Bouncing back after some tough losses proves that,” Girard said. “Both teams feel like they can compete with any team in the country.”
The women play their first spring outdoors match at home tomorrow against the Division I University of Pittsburgh. The men play at home against Denison University Wednesday.