by Tom Utescher
Following last Friday’s snowy April Fool’s joke, the men of Chestnut Hill College took to the tennis courts the next afternoon to register a 9-0 sweep against the visiting Cougars of North Jersey’s Caldwell College. With the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory, the Griffins improved to a record of 2-1 in the CACC and an overall mark of 7-10 that includes five fall-ball matches.
Chestnut Hill’s lone conference loss came at the hands of defending champ Concordia College, which is located just north of New York City and which has attracted eight talented foreign-born players to its tennis program. The Clippers are heavy favorites to retain the CACC title, but Chestnut Hill head coach Albert Stroble feels that there will be healthy competition for the second spot between the Griffins and two other Philly schools, Philadelphia University and University of the Sciences.
Assistant coach Drew Silverman is back to help guide the Griffins this year, along with Chestnut Hill Academy alum Ryan Gargullo.
CHC’s own roster has a dash of international flavor this year, starting with senior number one Mario Gutierrez. Arriving from his native Spain three years ago, Gutierrez enrolled at Tennessee Tech, but now has transferred to Chestnut Hill for his final year as an undergraduate. Griffins freshmen Manuel Ceniceros and Juan Farah hail from Mexico City and Caracas, Venezuela, respectively.
Last weekend, Caldwell College arrived in Chestnut Hill without a full roster, and defaults by the visitors at third doubles and fifth and sixth singles gave the Griffins a 3-0 advantage in the match before a single ball was put in play.
Coach Stroble had already adjusted the CHC line-up for the meeting with the winless Cougars. Gutierrez and Ceniceros did not play singles at all, but teamed up to win the first doubles contest in an 8-1 pro set against Caldwell’s Prakash Basnet and Chris Skarbelis. At second doubles Griffins junior Julius Twyman and freshman Ross Garabedian combined to beat visitors Ashish Shakya and Karlsun Allen, 8-0.
Moving up from his regular third singles spot, Chestnut Hill sophomore Pat Joson had no difficulties at first singles, taking a pair of 6-1 sets from the Cougars’ Basnet. Twyman didn’t lose a single game as he overcame Skarbelis at second singles.
Freshman Jeramy Solema went past Caldwell’s Shakya in the third spot, 6-1, 6-0, but another Griffins rookie, Stephan Wolfert, had more of a challenge at number four. Wolfert usually doesn’t play singles for CHC in intercollegiate matches, and here he fell behind the Cougars’ Allen, who took the opening set at 6-3.
Wolfert bounced back to tie the bout with a 6-2 win in the following segment. Because the other matches were finished and the Griffins had clinched the team victory, a super tiebreaker was played in lieu of a full third set, and Wolfert won it, 10-1, to complete the CHC sweep.