By Carlos Toro
The Rider women’s tennis team picked up its first two wins of the season after a complete sweep of St. Francis Brooklyn on Sept. 24 and against Monmouth on Sept. 29.
The Broncs started well against the Terriers when they won all three of their doubles matches. All six Broncs then proceeded to win their singles matches. Freshman Vanessa Canda had to battle back from a first set loss against Terriers junior Laura Dimante to win the second set 6-4 and the tiebreaker set by a score of 10-5.
Freshman Cyd Melendez, who picked up her first collegiate victory when she defeated Terriers freshman Sara Bognadovic in straight sets, said that the early season win was big for the team.
“This win was important for us,” Melendez said. “It’ll energize us and gives us confidence for the matches coming ahead. I think if we stick together and keep working hard, we’ll have success throughout the season. Every player has things to work on, but, by working together and with our coaches, we will improve. I think this team has a lot of potential.”
As for the men, they suffered a tough home loss to the Terriers on Sept. 21. The Broncs did pick up a doubles win when the duo of sophomore Brandon Gildea and freshman Griffin Clark won 6-2.
Sophomore Ryan Ciaccio picked up his second straight singles win of the season when he defeated St. Francis Brooklyn freshman Tim Cecere in straight sets.
Griffin said that, despite the loss, he saw a lot of good in the team’s performance.
“We were in it and I think everybody, including myself, played really well,” Clark said. “It’s just that St. Francis Brooklyn is just a good team. I was hitting my shots. It’s just theirs were a little more solid and they were a little bit more experienced.”
The women were not done winning. Against Monmouth, the team swept the Hawks in doubles competition with both Canda and Melendez also picking up straight set victories in their singles competition.
Rider defeated Monmouth by a score of 6-1 and the Broncs are now on their first win streak since the 2011 fall season when they beat Rutgers Camden and Monmouth. The win against Monmouth also marks exactly five years since that win.
The women will next compete in the Villanova Invitational from Sept. 30-Oct. 2. They return home for a non-conference game against Wagner on Oct. 4. The men’s next match will be when they host Northern Kentucky on Sept. 29.
Clark said that facing a team like Northern Kentucky will benefit the team moving forward.
“They played some really good teams this year when I looked at their schedule,” Clark said. “I think that will benefit us even more.”