By Dean Boerner | Sports Editor
With both teams starting conference play against LMU and Pepperdine, last week didn’t lack in excitement for each of the two Saint Mary’s tennis programs. In the end, they both finished the week very similarly. Women’s and men’s tennis each defeated LMU in dramatic fashion while falling to Pepperdine.
Women’s tennis began conference play with their win over LMU, despite starting Saturday’s action by dropping the doubles point up for grabs. A duo of Jana McCord and Kareena Manji dominated their way to a 6-0 win over LMU’s Anna Romeka and Siobhan Anderson, but LMU doubles teams of Jessica Perez/Elvira Juravliova and Julia Norlin/Camila Tumosa won to grant the Lions the doubles point.
Nevertheless, the Gaels used singles wins by Manji, Clementine Clement, Parminder Kaur, and freshman Jacqueline Pelletier to push past LMU to take the match.
Pelletier’s match in particular was especially competitive. The first-year Saint Mary’s player out of South Carolina went to tiebreakers in each one of her sets with LMU’s Juravliova, finally winning 6-7, 7-6, 7-6. The other three singles wins came in straight sets for a Gaels team that began WCC action 1-0 in conference.
However, any feelings of elation resulting from Saturday’s win might have been tempered a bit when the Gaels ran into a nationally-ranked and perennially good Pepperdine program. The Waves came away with a 4-0 win over Saint Mary’s, moving to 2-0 and conference and making the Gaels 1-1 in WCC play.
Men’s tennis fell to Pepperdine on Friday in likewise fashion, dropping their first conference match 4-0 to the Waves. Pepperdine secured the doubles point with two straight doubles victories before rolling to three singles wins and the overall match victory.
The Gaels found more luck Saturday afternoon with a dramatic 4-3 win over the LMU.
Matthew Campana and Manuel De Luis Lamelas combined to give Saint Mary’s a doubles win, but it wasn’t enough for the Gaels, who dropped the other two doubles matchups to miss out on the doubles point. LMU’s Gabriel Diaz Freire and Luke Bohuslav won their singles matches for the Lions, and suddenly Saint Mary’s found themselves on the ropes down 3-0.
But the Gaels persevered. Damon Kesaris defeated Nick Borchenko 6-4, 6-2. Then Campana and Lagman won their respective singles matches to shift all attention to Lamelas enmeshed in a dramatic match with LMU’s Alex Bourgeois. In the end, Lamelas took the match 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to hand Saint Mary’s the win.