TENNIS: Weekend match leaves women with win, men with loss

Jason Stamm

Western’s tennis teams faced Lipscomb over the weekend, with the women pulling out a win and the men starting strong, but fading in a loss.

On Friday night, the women had a strong singles showing, propelling them to a 5-2 win. The Lady Toppers started the evening in doubles, getting a strong 8-1 win from the sophomore No. 1 pair of Karina Ledaja and Ieva Balcus. Western was outplayed in the other two matches however, and fell 2-1 in doubles.

The Lady Toppers turned their evening around in singles, winning 5-1. Spearheading the effort was No. 1 Ledaja, who won 6-0, 6-2 to go 4-1 on the season.

“I played pretty well, especially since I was sick last week,” Ledaja said. “I just said, ‘I’m gonna be a winner tonight,’ and I went on the court like a winner, like this victory’s gonna be mine.”

Also racking up wins were senior Olga Kosaka at No. 2, No. 3 Balcus, No. 4 Ilze Rozentale and No. 6 Jennifer Hahn.

“We just played really well,” coach Jeff True said. “I was especially pleased with our 2, 3 and 4 because I thought those matches could’ve gone either way.”

On the men’s side, Western started singles play on Saturday with wins by junior Mikus Paipars at No. 1, sophomore Stan Rabinovics at No. 2, and sophomore Franco Serra at No. 3 before dropping matches at 4, 5 and 6. On the positive side, Rabinovics moves to 5-1 on the season with his 6-2, 6-3 win.

“Our top three played very well,” True said. “But Lipscomb was a lot stronger at 4, 5, and 6 than I thought. They just overpowered us.”

In doubles play the No. 1 pairing of Paipars and Rabinovics kick-started the tops with an 8-5 win. The Toppers’ engine died in the last two matches however, to drop doubles 2-1.

Both men’s and women’s teams will march on with their spring campaign on Friday when they both move outdoors to play host to Olivet Nazarene and to Cumberland on Saturday. The men will be looking to improve on their 3-3 record while the girls hope to add a couple of wins to their 2-3 mark.

“They’re both a lot like Lipscomb,” True said. “But moving outdoors could play a huge factor compared to our past home matches indoors.”

Reach Jason Stamm at [email protected].