Tennis teams bounce back to defeat MAAC rival

Freshman Chris Esposito won his singles match in straight sets, 6-0, and 6-1, against Chris Tucci of Manhattan on Wednesday.By Chris Cole

It was a tale of turning a negative into a positive when Rider followed up a bad loss with a gigantic win.

The Broncs lost 6-1 for the men and 7-0 for the women against Loyola on Monday. The loss was a result of errors against a team that had more match play.

“The team as a whole made way too many errors against a team that was not much better than us,” Head Coach Ed Torres said. “The weather was windy and cold and it bothered some of the players. Also, Loyola had just played several matches and were a little sharper because of the extra matches.”

Senior Jim Leone provided Rider with its only win against Loyola by defeating Jamie Russo in straight sets 6-3, 7-5.

“Jim Leone kept the ball in play and didn’t make the errors that the others were making,” Torres said to Rider Sports Information. “In the second set, Jim got down 4-0 before battling back to seven of the last eight games. He played a very steady match.”

The Broncs used their windy loss to Loyola as motivation to become giant-killers by beating four-time defending MAAC Champions Manhattan 4-3.

The MAAC match was a close one, with both teams even in single match scores.

Rider freshmen Chris Esposito and Robert Olsen, and sophomores Marc Ashed and Will Haight won their doubles matches to seal the victory for Rider.

“The Manhattan team had three starters from last year’s team and three new players,” said Torres. “We lost the first three positions and won the bottom part of the lineup; the key was the doubles point. Everyone played well for a great win.”

Ashed told Rider Sports Information that the Manhattan indoor courts were more comfortable than the outdoor conditions against Loyola.

“Playing inside is a totally different game, and I think we adjusted pretty well to it,” he said.

Yesterday, both teams lost to Delaware State 7-0. The men went into the match without three starters and were forced to go with just five players.

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