It was a busy weekend for Youngstown State University’s tennis teams.
The men opened the weekend by defeating Chicago State University on Friday at the Boardman Tennis Center.
“I thought we played well against Chicago State,” said head men’s tennis coach Mark Klysner. “We mixed up the lineup [on Friday] to see what could give us our best doubles and singles lineup.”
The Penguins went 7-0 against the Cougars. Freshman Dawoud Kabli, playing in the No. 2 singles spot, defeated freshman Julio Chavez 6-2, 6-1. Klysner said he was pleased with Kabli’s performance.
“I really thought Dawoud played well [on Friday],” Klysner said. “We played him at the No. 2, and he played more solid than our first match. I could see the things we talked about him doing being done in his match.”
Klysner said Friday’s match was the ideal time “to work on things we have been practicing in the week.”
“The guys came in comfortable after a good week of practice,” he said.
On Saturday, though, the Penguins fell, 6-1, to the Xavier University Musketeers, with sophomore Rodrigo Campos picking up YSU’s point in a three-set victory over freshman Freddy Abunku.
In doubles, YSU freshman Silviu Mistreanu and sophomore Max Schmerin defeated juniors Phillip Diaz and Brandon MacDonald.
“We had a chance to take the doubles point, which would have been huge,” Campos said. “We lost three tough matches against a good team.”
Klysner said Xavier was the toughest matchup so far this year.
“It’s not that we didn’t play well, because I thought we did,” Klysner said. “This was just a tough matchup early in the season. This was their sixth match to our third.”
Klysner said his team “really fought hard this weekend.”
“It was the best doubles play I have seen from them,” he said.
Campos echoed Klysner’s thoughts.
“We played pretty well overall this weekend,” Campos said. “We played well against Chicago State, winning 7-0 and ran into a tough Xavier team.”
On the women’s side, the Penguins also fell to Xavier, 7-0.
Freshman Marta Burak lost her first match this season, losing 6-2 twice to junior Katie Pleiman. In the No. 2 singles, Carolyn Jesko lost a tough 7-6, 6-4 match to freshman Daniella Patton.
In doubles, Burak and Jesko fell 8-0 to Pleiman and freshman Kally Alkire. Senior Lauren Hankle and sophomore Gimena Puppo also lost their doubles match.
“Xavier was a really smart and experienced team,” Hankle said. “We are still a very young team. We just need some more experience, and I think we will be playing even better.”
In their final match of the weekend, the Penguins lost 7-0 to the University of Akron at the LaTuchie Tennis Center.
Klysner said he could not be happier with his team’s performance in Akron.
“They really bounced back well and showed each other great support,” Klysner said. “They could have given up, but they really fought hard.”
Hankle said she was happy with how the team played as well.
“We played really well at Akron, especially with them being a nationally ranked team so often,” Hankle said. “I know the results don’t show it, but we have been improving every match.”
Zips senior Zaruhi Harutyunyan defeated Burak in two sets, 7-6, 6-4. Hankle took freshman Olga Shkundina to three sets before losing the final set in a tiebreaker, 14-12.
“Marta had the three-time MAC player of the year [Harutyunyan] on the ropes,” Klysner said. “A few points the other way and it could have been a different outcome.”
In doubles action, Hankle and Burak lost their match, 8-1, to Harutyunyan and junior Prang Pantusart. Puppo and Jesko fell in their match as well, losing to the team of junior twin sisters Angelina and Angelika Jogasuria.
Even though the results are not there yet, Klysner said he thinks they will be soon.
“I really see the girls improving every game,” he said. “I know they have been discouraged with the results, but I am encouraged with the way they have been performing.”
The Penguins return to action Saturday at the Boardman Tennis Center against Niagara University.