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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer


Saints steamroll their way to CCAC crowns

Holy Cross tennis teams allow no points in dominant postseason runs

A lot of ingredients must come together for a conference championship — in any sport — to come to fruition. The feat requires regular-season success and good results in league standings. Consistent play from start to finish mixed with big wins here and there. And of course, a streak of unbeatable play in the postseason tournament. It’s a difficult formula that many teams go years — even decades — without uncovering.

Don’t tell any of that to the Holy Cross tennis teams. Both the men’s and women’s squads captured their second consecutive Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference titles to start this weekend, making it look almost impossibly easy. The men’s team swept Illinois opponents Olivet Nazarene and Judson to achieve the championship, while the women’s group blanked Olivet and Roosevelt (Illinois) to make its magic happen.

Men’s team

The 22nd-ranked Holy Cross men still have not lost a match since Feb. 24. They opened conference tournament week by extending their lengthy winning streak to 10 games with a 4-0 defeat of Olivet before setting their sights on Judson.

In the Friday championship match, the Saints handled doubles play cleanly. The No. 2 team of junior Ciaran McCarthy and Oscar Wai earned a 6-1 win, while the No. 3 pairing of sophomore Luca McManus and freshman Adam Singleton played to a 6-0 victory.

Holy Cross then followed up with a trio of two-set wins in singles play to cross the finish line. Wai dominated the No. 2 match, winning his sets by scores of 6-0 and 6-2. Junior Perry Gregg got the better of No. 1 singles as well, posting scores of 6-2 and 6-4. To finalize the championship, No. 6 singles went the way of sophomore Polis Koursaros by counts of 6-3 and 6-4.

Women’s team

The 20th-ranked Holy Cross women produced identical results, beginning with a 4-0 takedown of Olivet Nazarene in Thursday’s semifinal. They also bested Roosevelt by the same count in Saturday’s championship, extending their win streak to five games.

In the championship match, the Holy Cross women’s team buried the competition even deeper than the men’s squad did. The Saints did not allow a single game win in doubles play, as the pairings of sophomore Kia Carvalho-Landell and freshman Nicole Martinez along with senior Anna Beer and sophomore Victoria Savvidou swept their opponents.

During singles action, Holy Cross won all three even-numbered matchups to clinch the championship. Freshman Maria Sanchez earned 6-3 and 6-1 wins in No. 2 singles, Martinez picked up 6-0 and 6-3 victories in the No. 4 matchup and senior Diane Maillotte claimed 6-1 and 6-0 defeats in No. 6 singles.

Up next, both teams will head to the NAIA National Championships, which run from May 14-18 in Mobile, Alabama. The men’s squad enters with a record of 12-3 while the women come in with a 10-2 mark.