by Tom Utescher
Two of Chestnut College’s regular starters were out of the line-up from the get-go, another Griffin racquetman was injured before the singles contests began, but host CHC still had more than enough horsepower to blow by visiting Dowling College in last Friday’s non-league tennis tilt.
Winning all three doubles bouts and taking five of the six singles contests for an 8-1 triumph, the Griffins raised their record to 5-1 in the spring season. They had played five matches back in the fall, going 3-2, so Friday’s victory produced an overall record of 8-3 for the 2012-13 school year.
After starting the spring campaign with a loss to the Florida Institute of Technology during a trip to Tampa, Chestnut Hill has won five straight matches. Last Friday the Griffins took the court without regular number two Yoann Pham, a junior, and number four Steven Say, a sophomore.
In the doubles competition that always precedes singles play in college bouts, CHC encountered some resistance in the first flight, but junior A.J. Moore and freshman Kevin Taylor overcame visitors Francisco Del Castillo and Sardorjan Mamadjanov, 8-4.
In each of the other two pro-set doubles contests, the Griffins swept the Golden Lions, 8-0. Sophomore Mike Humes and junior Manuel Ceniceros won at second doubles over Derek Wells and Mike Pessalano, and at number three CHC sophomore Sammy Atri and junior Jeremy Solema broomed Marc Lewis and Brendan Sullivan of Dowling.
Unfortunately, Chestnut Hill’s Moore rolled an ankle during doubles play, and as a result the Griffins forfeited the second singles match to Dowling’s Del Castillo, saving the visitors from a shutout overall.
Humes mastered Mamadjanov at first singles, 6-1, 6-3, while Ceniceros took a pair of 6-2 sets from Well in the third spot. Taylor triumphed at number four over Sullivan, 6-1, 6-2, and in the last two positions Chestnut Hill did not lose a single game. At fifth singles it was Atri over Pessalano, while number six Solema swept the Golden Lions’ Lewis.
Even at the NCAA Division II level, many tennis programs are now attracting players from abroad, and Chestnut Hill’s roster includes athletes from England, France, and Mexico. The one team ranked ahead of the Griffins within the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, Concordia College (Bronxville, N.Y.) fields a line-up consisting entirely of foreign-born players.