In the past week, the men’s tennis team traveled to Ohio State University to take on the No. 4-ranked Buckeyes, while the women traveled to the University of Toledo to face the Rockets.
Both tennis teams at Youngstown State University lost their season openers, 7-0 and 5-2, respectively.
On the men’s side, the Buckeyes were a last-minute addition to the schedule and were intended to help the Penguins prepare for upcoming games. Head tennis coach Mark Klysner said despite the loss, his team came away with a great learning experience.
“It’s a tough task to ask the guys to play against a team like Ohio State, but they held their own,” he said.
In addition, although the women fell to the Rockets, they experienced some individual success. For instance, Marta Burak was victorious in the No. 1 singles, while Lauren Hankle won in the No. 2 singles. Burak also picked up a victory in No. 1 singles with teammate Carolyn Jesko.
Klysner said he was pleased with the women’s performance, adding that his roster wasn’t at full strength.
“Had we had our full lineup, I feel like we would have won comfortably over Toledo,” he said.
Klysner said he’s expecting both teams to build and improve from the fall portion of their schedule.
“The guys played some challenging tournaments,” he said. “They had good results at the Louisville Invitational against some really strong competition and also had some upsets at regionals.”
As for the women, their first tournament went “extremely well,” resulting in the snatching of “a few titles,” he said.
“The highlight of our fall season was regionals. We got four girls in and were one of the last of seven schools remaining out of 30,” Klysner said. “Our recruiting interest went up after that.”
Looking ahead to the spring schedule and the beginning of league play, the men were picked fourth in the preseason Horizon League standings, while the women were picked fifth.
With experience and hard work, the men can make a run at a title, Klysner said.
“The guys know what it takes to win,” he said.
Sophomore Silviu Mistreanu said he is excited for the spring season, adding that he spent winter break working on his cardio and footwork in his home country of Romania.
“I want to do as good as I did over the fall and last spring, and I want to get the Horizon League title with my guys,” he said.
The women’s team is in the midst of a rebuilding year, but possesses some young and incoming talent, Klysner said. He added that there will be great motivation to try and knock off the University of Illinois at Chicago, which hasn’t lost a league match since 1996.
“I feel like we can give them a run,” Klysner said.
Junior Margarita Sadovnikova said she knows that her team must be committed and put in the hard work.
“I’m really excited to play this season and will do everything I can to be the best I can be,” she said.
Sadovnikova said she wants to build on the success she had at regionals and that she has high aspirations for both herself and the team.
“We have a really good chance this year to be at the top of conference,” she said. “We support each other and work to get better every day.”
The women will travel to Bowling Green State University on Saturday to take on the Falcons, while the men will play host to the University of Toledo on Friday.