Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified the mascot of Longwood University. The mascot for Longwood University is the Lancers. Elon News Network regrets this error.
Both the Elon University men’s tennis and women’s tennis teams ended up successful in synchronous matches against Longwood University this afternoon at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center. Each team swept, overpowering the Lancers 7-0, 7-0.
Both teams got out to a quick start, particularly the men’s team in its doubles matches. Senior Nicholas Condos and junior Ben Zipay, as well as freshman Oskar Antinheimo and junior Daniel Martin completed their matches 6-1 each.
Head coach Michael Leonard was impressed with the team’s quick work.
“We talked about being professional and focused before the match so you can stay on top of teams, because we feel like if we could stay on top of them we can get on them a little bit,” Leonard said. “That doesn't always happen, they're a good team so if you let up a little bit, or you're not focused on something, all of a sudden you lose a set here or you're losing momentum. We’re trying to focus them as a team.”
In its singles play, every match was won by a Phoenix player, with two 6-0 sweeps in their second match by freshman Ahmed Hosni and Zipay. Antinheimo made quick work of his singles, winning 6-1, 6-2. He said he was proud of his individual game as well as the team’s success.
“I played pretty solid by myself, I was very engaged every point and kept the pressure during the whole match, even though there was a little bit of ups and downs,” Antinheimo said. “It was very good from the team and good energy.”
Antinheimo was just named Colonial Athletic Association player of the week Feb. 14. He said he was proud of his accomplishment but is looking further down the line for success as a team.
“I'm more looking forward to the CAA championships,” Antinheimo said. “The award is just little, a small thing, everyone gets it at some point.”
Leonard also said he was pleased with the performances he has seen from Antinheimo and the strong start he has gotten off to in his freshman campaign.
“He's just a really good competitor,” Leonard said. “He works, he's one of the hardest workers on our team, so you do love as a coach seeing the kids who work the hardest get the most reward from it because that's what they deserve. He puts a lot into it, he cares, you can see it in the way he plays.”
Both Leonard and Antinheimo said that they were excited to see the team play so well at the start of the season and have been even more impressed with the amount of talent available on the team.
“I think we have many, many good players,” Antinheimo said. “It's not just a couple players — our whole team is very good — so we have very good depth.”
The team will look toward its two home matches at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 18 against Shaw University and 2 p.m. against Georgia State University.
A similar story, the women’s tennis team followed the same success as the men did, winning 7-0 in its first, true home match of the season.
Head coach Elizabeth Anderson said she was happy to be at home and was proud of the outcome in each match.
“They did really well ,” Anderson said. “It was nice to have our first home match too and nice to compete at home because we love playing at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center and they competed hard and played well.”
Similarly to the men’s doubles matches, sophomore Miray Konar and freshman Helen Sarikulaya, as well as senior Julie Ball and freshman Madison Cordisco defeated Longwood 6-1, 6-1.
Konar and Sarikulaya finished first, and Konar said it was a testament to their cohesiveness when playing doubles together.
“I really enjoy playing doubles with Helen because I love her so much and also because we play really good together and we match very well,” Konar said.
Konar proved to be a strong force in her singles matches, winning 6-0, 6-3. Konar said although she swept the first set, she still struggled a bit in the second.
“At first, I focused really well, but it wasn't an easy set,” Konar said. “It was 6-0 but I still played really well and she still played really well. At the beginning of the second set, I kind of lost my focus, but then I just kept saying to myself, ‘You got this.’”
With the win, the Phoenix move to 5-2 on the season. Anderson said she is looking forward to practicing with the team before its next match Feb. 25 at Charlotte.
“We’ll just continue to work on fine tuning their games, singles and doubles, over the next little bit,” Anderson said. “We've had a lot of matches lately so it's nice to just work on individually specific things as well.”