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Lions Kickoff Tournament Day 2

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By Grant Playter | Staff Writer

EWING — The sun shines brightly, a light breeze caressing the crowd as spectators and competitors alike fill the courts for the second day of the Lion’s Kickoff Tournament.

The second of a three-day event held at The College of New Jersey, the women’s tennis teams from New York University, Dickinson College, Rider University and hosts TCNJ faced off in a bevy of doubles matches. The games were single set, first to eight games taking the match.

Maddy Stoner (Photo by the TCNJ Sports Information Department)

Maddy Stoner (Photo by the TCNJ Sports Information Department)

“The format’s awesome,” Dickinson tennis coach David Bojalad said. “It’s nothing we’ve ever played before. It’s doubles round robin, it’s a perfect way to get your feet wet into the season. We’re just one week in of our Fall season, so it’s really perfect preparation for us going into ITA’s and a couple of other matches we have scheduled for the fall.”

Bojalad was excited to have his team compete among this group of four, noting the prowess of the other teams competing in the tournament and that could help prepare his team for the season.

“We’ve upgraded our talent level, we lost two very good players last year, all conference players,” Bojalad said. “But we replaced them with five strong players. So we increased our depth and we matched our talent. We feel great, young men’s team, young women’s team. I think we’re definitely gonna be improved.”

Ultimately, the hosts from TCNJ ended up securing the most wins with eleven, half of the total games played. NYU followed closely behind with 8, Rider with 2, and Dickinson with a solitary win. Dickinson, as Bojalad notes, has brought in a lot of fresh talent this year, and this tournament presents an opportunity to work out any kinks.

Dickinson, as Bojalad notes, has brought in a lot of fresh talent this year, and this tournament presents an opportunity to work out any kinks.

“I’m feeling good,” says Bojalad, shortly after the first round of match-ups, where Dickinson was unable to secure a victory. “We’re coming from the Centennial Conference, down in Central Pennsylvania, and we have some schools that are comparable, like Johns Hopkins and Swarthmore. But this is a high level of competition and it’s just a great way to start our season to play against teams as strong as these.”

NYU Head Coach, Horace Choy, a 25-year veteran at the school, was similarly enthused about his team’s prospects.

“So far, so good,” Choy said. “It’s the first match of the season for us, I’m just looking to see where our freshmen are out and try and mix and match a little bit with the doubles to build out for the rest of the fall season and into the spring season.”

As both coaches indicated, these early fall tournaments are often a proving ground of sorts. It’s a time for teams to figure out which players work best together in doubles, which players excel in singles match-ups, and perhaps most importantly, get a sense of where their freshman talent will best be used.

“I think our team’s pretty versatile, some girls are obviously more comfortable playing singles, and then others are comfortable doing both,” Choy said. “This is my first weekend of competition, so I’m getting a better sense of who will be playing singles and who will be playing doubles in regular competition.”

The distinction between doubles and singles is a notable one. One of TCNJ’s team captains, Maddy Stoner, played three doubles matches with fellow captain Grace Minassian, and was quick to explain the numerous differences in style of play.

“It’s completely different,” Stoner said. “You’re out there with someone else, there’s more support, you’re more comfortable taking your shots. For me, I’m definitely more of a doubles player. You get to be more creative, you’re at net more, single’s a lot of endurance, a lot of running. Double’s you can get out there and kill the ball, it’s a lot of fun.”

Stoner, a TCNJ senior, is entering her final season this year. This is her last opportunity to compete in tournaments of this caliber, and she doesn’t want to waste it.

“My senior year I’m really looking forward to one final year as a Lion,” says Stoner. “And I want to bring it home.”

Stay tuned for our coverage for the final day of the Lions Kickoff Tournament, where the men’s tennis teams will hit the court.

Detailed Results Breakdown (Winners in Bold)

Round One

Grace Minassian /  Maddy Stoner (TCNJ) vs. Lauren Altschuler / Alexandra Epstein (Dickinson) (8-3)
Danna Tsay / Andrea Giacobbo (TCNJ) vs.  Hanna Butler / Chase Warner (Dickinson) (8-2)
Alyssa Baldi / Audrey Chen (TCNJ) vs. Neve Brennan / Olivia Shea (Dickinson) (8-4)
Sneha Rangu / Laura Suarez (TCNJ) vs. Madeleine Kuhns-Baione / Emily Sprague (Dickinson) (8-2)
Emily Szkudlarski / Mackenzie Holleran (TCNJ) vs. Jaclyn Baum / Kirsten Brodeen (Dickinson) (8-4)
Sondra Lionetti / Brittany Reedman (TCNJ) vs. Anandini Chawla / Christina Brumbaugh (NYU) (8-3)
Vanessa Canda / Cyd Melendez (Rider) vs. Flyora Shiyanova / Vanessa Scott (NYU) (9-7)
Amanda Binder / Sydney Jeffrey (Rider) vs.  Judy Kam / Anna Buraya (NYU) (8-5)

Round Two

Grace Minassian / Maddy Stoner (TCNJ) vs. Flyora Shiyanova / Vanessa Scott (NYU) (8-6)
Danna Tsay / Andra Giacobbo (TCNJ) vs. Judy Kam / Anna Buraya (NYU) (8-2)
Alyssa Baldi / Audrey Chen (TCNJ) vs. Liz Hedegus / Kate Shaffer (NYU) (8-5)
Sneha Rangu / Laura Suarez (TCNJ) vs. Alice McGinty / Coco Kulle (NYU) (8-2)
Lauren Altschuler / Alexandra Epstein (Dickinson) vs. Vanessa Canda / Cyd Melendez (Rider) (8-5)
Hanna Butler / Chase Warner (Dickinson) vs. Amanda Binder / Sydney Jeffrey (Rider) (8-5)
Sondra Lionetti / Brittany Reedman (TCNJ) vs. Jaclyn Baum / Kirsten Brodeen (Dickinson) (8-4)
Emily Szkudlarski / Mackenzie Holleran (TCNJ) vs. Anandini Chawla / Ayesha Das (NYU) (8-4)

Round Three

Grace Minassian / Maddy Stoner (TCNJ) vs. Vanessa Canda / Cyd Melendez (Rider) (8-1)
Danna Tsay / Andrea Giacobbo (TCNJ) vs. Amanda Binder / Sydney Jeffrey (Rider) (8-5)
Lauren Altschuler / Alexandra Epstein (Dickinson) vs. Judy Kam / Anna Buraya (NYU) (8-2)
Hanna Butler / Olivia Shea (Dickinson) vs. Flyora Shiyanova / Vanessa Scott (NYU) (8-3)
Madeleine Kuhns-Baione / Emily Sprague (Dickinson) vs. Coco Kulle / Kate Shaffer (NYU) (8-2)
Kirsten Brodeen / Jaclyn Baum (Dickinson) vs. Alice McGinty / Liz Hegedus (NYU) (8-0)

Any Corrections?. You can contact Anthony Caruso III, Publisher at publisher@thecapitalsportsreport.com.

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