First-year Lehigh women's tennis player Maggie Forkner sets up to receive a serve from a visiting Colgate opponent. Lehigh also competed against Army and Saint Joeseph's Univeristy at the Hidden Dual on Sept. 16 and 17. (Lauren Slovensky/B&W Staff)

Lehigh women’s tennis team dominates in mystery match


The Lehigh women’s tennis team schedule gave no clear insight, no opposition and no match times for the “Lehigh Hidden Dual.” Only the location was revealed to the public prior to the match that took place on Sept. 17 and 18. 

The match name begged for a closer look. This so-called “hidden” sporting event is seemingly convoluted but meaningful, with the main reason for secrecy kept a mystery.

A potential sports marketing scheme? A tournament rebranding? An accident on Lehigh’s behalf? All valid possibilities.

Upon arrival at the Ulrich Tennis Courts, the mystery of the hidden dual unfolded. Saint Joseph’s, Army and Colgate were all in attendance. It was a two-day Patriot League meet for singles and doubles matches against each team in non-consecutive fashion.

So much for a mystery.

Lehigh dominated the first two opponents on day one of the meet, leaving six of seven singles matches against Saint Joseph’s victorious.

First-years Maggie Forkner, Audrey Harrington and Hannah Letzer, along with senior twin sisters Megha and Anushka Dania, each defeated their opponents in straight sets. 

The highlight match was a comeback victory by first-year Giselle Vlassis. After losing the first set 4-6, Vlassis battled back to win both the second set and a nail-biting back-and-forth tiebreaker by a score of 6-4, 16-14.

Lehigh’s dominance continued through the first set of doubles matches against head coach Olivia Leavitt’s alma mater, the Colgate Raiders.

The three duos of juniors, Allyce Gaborik and Forkner, the Dania twins, and junior Hamsa Javagal and Harrington, all defeated their opponents by scores of 8-1, 8-2 and 8-5, respectively.

The dominant stretch on day one ended when Lehigh faced Army. The Mountain Hawks dropped five of six matches against the Black Knights, with Megha Dania recording the only win with a straight-set victory over Army’s sophomore Emma Sy.

Finishing with mixed results, Leavitt was pleased with the team’s exposure to familiar Patriot League opponents.

“It’s always nice to see league opponents in the fall to test where we are against them,” Leavitt said.

The second day, the Mountain Hawks started strong. They began with a sweep of Saint Joseph’s in four doubles matches.

After changing doubles teams for the second day of play, the new duos of the Dania twins, Forkner and Harrington, Vlassis and Avery Hopkey, and sophomore Bella Peters and Letzer emerged victorious in each of the four contests.

Peters, who formed a doubles tandem with Javagal last year, expressed her excitement for building chemistry with other teammates on the doubles court.

“This fall we’re switching things around, seeing who works best with each other,” Peters said. “It’s fun to play with different people.”

Following the sweep of Saint Joseph’s, the strong performances against Colgate continued, as Lehigh won six of seven contests in singles matches. 

Three first-years, Forkner, Letze and Harrington earned their first victories against Patriot League opposition. Each did it in straight sets.

Letzer, who defeated Colgate’s first-year Avery Isaac by a score of 6-1, 6-1, credited the presence of her teammates for her success on the court.

“I think the energy was different,” Letzer said. “Your teammates are right next to you, cheering for you — and they can be on the court.”

Similar to day one, Lehigh’s winning momentum was stopped by an Army roadblock. In doubles matches against the Black Knights, the Mountain Hawks were swept in four matches.

Despite the losses against Army throughout the weekend, Peters said she remains optimistic for their next meeting.

“Each year we’re doing better against (Army) because we know that we can do exactly what they’re doing,” Peters said. “We’re right there with them.”

By the end of the meet, Lehigh posted a 13-7 record in singles matches and a 7-5 record in doubles matches. 

Leavitt said she was pleased with the performances over the weekend but still sees room for improvement toward the spring season.

“(I’m) definitely proud with the energy and effort that was put out today,” Leavitt said. “But we still have some work to do both on the doubles and singles courts.”

The Mountain Hawks return to action with an away meet against Monmouth University on Sept. 23.

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