Bucknell Tennis Breaks for Spring Duals vs. Denison, North Georgia Bison to Take on Big Red, Saints in Hilton Head
March 12, 2010
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell tennis has added a handful of matches to its schedule for the spring break stretch. The Bison will take on a pair of opponents they have never faced, starting Denison on Monday, March 15 with the men taking the court against the Big Red at 3 p.m. and the women at 6 p.m. Both squads will then face North Georgia at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 17. All four matches will be played in Hilton Head, S.C.
Rebecca Helt is looking for a pair of milestones when Bucknell heads south this week. The head coach is two wins shy of 200 in her career at Bucknell. She currently owns a 198-219 combined men’s and women’s record. Helt will also tie Floyd Ballentine (1924-44) for fourth on the list of most men’s matches coached at Bucknell. After the contest with North Georgia, Helt will have led the Bison men in 165 matches.
Bucknell claimed its first two wins of the season last weekend, completing 7-0 sweeps over Niagara and St. Bonaventure. The Bison ended the stretch with a 6-1 loss to Syracuse on Sunday, however.
Tania Varela (Quito, Ecuador/Alliance Academy) had quite a bit of success last weekend to build on her winning streak. The senior is a combined 10-0 in the Bison’s last five matches. Varela’s last loss in singles and doubles came against Pittsburgh on Feb. 13.
Lauren Lucido (Woodstock, Md./St. Paul’s School for Girls) and Varela turned around their luck against Niagara’s Hilary Hansen and Alyssa Lucas last Friday. Lucido and Varela lost to the Purple Eagles’ doubles team 9-7 at the Bloomsburg Invitational last fall, but the Bison had the final word with a convincing 8-1 victory last week. Lucido also defeated Hansen in singles for the second time this year. The Bucknell junior won in straight sets (6-2, 6-2) at Bloomsburg and in three sets (0-6, 6-3, 6-2) at Niagara.
Lucido was named the Patriot League Player of the Month on March 4, becoming the second consecutive Bison to earn the accolade. Lucido was 3-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles during the month of February. Bucknell now has earned three female Player of the Month honors in four attempts. Dumitrita Iepuras (Chisinau, Moldova/Germantown Friends Academy) won for September, while Varela earned the award for January.
Daria Tuzhikova (Minsk, Belarus/Gymnasium No. 7) has tallied a 10-7 doubles record this year, including 6-1 in dual competition, to lead Bucknell. The freshman has also won five of her last six matches when teaming with Iepuras. Tuzhikova is the only Bison in double-digit wins in doubles.
Varela is moving up the victories lists in the Bucknell record books. Heading into the spring break matches, she is tied for sixth in singles wins. At 61-25 for her career, Varela is one shy of tying former teammate Paulina Gamboa for fifth. Varela is also sixth in all-time combined wins at 121-55. Two more wins will tie her for fifth with Chelsea Mills.
The Denison women’s squad is 3-2 this spring, having gathered wins against Grand Valley (7-2), Carnegie Mellon (8-1) and Washington & Lee (7-2). Marta Drane and Kristen Cobb have combined for several of the Big Red’s victories as the duo is a combined 3-2 at No. 1 singles and 3-2 at No. 1 doubles as a team. Denison was 16-7 overall and 3-0 in the NCAC last season on its way to a No. 9 national ranking. The team placed four singles players and two doubles teams on the all-conference lists, including returners Cobb, Drane and Erin Chadwell. Head coach Peter Burling was also named the conference Coach of the Year for the fifth consecutive time last season.
Like its men’s team, the North Georgia women’s schedule gets very busy leading up to the match with the Bison. Heading into the stretch, the Saints are 5-4 this spring. Stasa Vujosevic is 4-5 at first singles, while Brittany Smith has amassed a winning record of 3-1 at the No. 2 position. When the 2009 season ended for North Georgia, the Saints had tallied a 6-18 record, including 1-9 in the Peach Belt Conference.
Bucknell dropped both its matches last weekend, 5-2 to Niagara and 6-1 to St. Bonaventure. Zach Hascoe (Greenwich, Conn./Brunswick) led the Bison in victories, winning both his No. 6 singles matches and teaming with Gregg Cohenca (Purchase, N.Y./Rye Country Day School) for a doubles win against the Purple Eagles.
With Cohenca and Hascoe’s 8-5 doubles win over Niagara’s Brandon Gallegos and David Lemieux-Sarrasin, Cohenca improved to 2-0 this year against the Purple Eagles’ doubles tandem. The Bison sophomore also teamed with Anton Kovic (Montreal, Quebec/Milton Academy (Mass.)) to defeat Gallegos and Lemieux-Sarrasin 8-5 at the Bloomsburg Invitational in September.
The Bison have seen plenty of singles matches go the distance this year. Bucknell is 17-15 in matches that have gone to a third set or a super tiebreaker. Kovic and Kelly Morque (Rye, N.Y./Rye) are responsible for nearly half those wins as both players have 4-2 records in those situations.
After missing the fall season, Hascoe is starting to find his rhythm. The senior has won his last two singles matches and two of his last three doubles matches. That record has moved him into a tie for eighth place all-time at Bucknell in doubles victories. Hascoe is tied with former teammate Daniel Bednarek with a career tally of 46-25.
Kovic is also moving up the ranks in the Bucknell record books. The junior is currently tied for 10th in doubles wins at 43-35 and tied for 25th in all-time combined victories at 65-72.
Denison is 2-0 in dual action this year. The Big Red’s wins have come over Grand Valley, 6-3, and Ohio Dominican, 8-1. A year ago, Denison was 16-5 overall and 4-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The squad, which finished 25th nationally at the Division III level, returns all-conference players Nate Hobarth and Tyler Cempre.
North Georgia will cram several matches into its schedule over the next week, but it enters that stretch with a 1-7 spring record. The Saints have struggled so far, as no player or doubles team has more than one dual win on the year. North Georgia finished 2009 at 6-14 overall and 1-7 in the Peach Belt Conference.
LOOKING AHEAD Bucknell remains on the road for its next two matches, taking on Villanova on Saturday, March 20 and Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday, March 23. The showdown with the Wildcats is slated for 1 p.m. in Villanova, Pa.