In the final match of a rival duel at the Lewis Tennis Center on Sunday, all eyes fell on the singles match No. 3 between Lehigh’s Megha Dania and Lafayette’s Jessica Siegel.
As both the Lehigh and Lafayette men’s and women’s teams surrounded the pitch in support of their side, Dania rallied to defeat Siegel, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, to seal the 4-3 double victory for the Mountain Hawks.
“It was really great to have the women’s and men’s players cheering on you,” Dania said. “It gives me a lot of motivation to play and play for Lehigh.”
Lehigh improved to 5-7 overall and 1-2 in Patriot League games, while Lafayette dropped to 4-8 – 1-2 in league games.
“It was a great team win,” Lehigh coach Sarah Hendrix said. “Every member played a very crucial role. I’m really happy for the team. We had a hard loss (Saturday) against Bucknell and the team really came back and we did well today to help and really support each other.
The Mountain Hawks picked up the day’s first point with a pair of double wins. Megha Dania and twin sister Anushka Dania defeated Lafayette’s Olivia Boeckman and Melanie Sparhawk 6-1. Hamsa Javagal and Junmoke James followed with a 6-2 win over Maureen McCormack and Eleanor Campbell.
When they played shorthanded due to player transfers and departures, the Mountain Hawks were unharmed by the subsequent standard of No. 3 doubles.
“Making sure we solidify and lock in the double point is really important because we only have five players and need six for the entire lineup, so every point really counts,” Hendrix said. “Our ultimate goal is to beat Lafayette every single year, and to do it this way was really nice.”
In singles, Lehigh’s Junmoke James fell 6-2, 6-1 to Olivia Boeckman as No. 1.
Forced to standard his No. 6 singles match, Lehigh knew it was necessary to take at least three of his five disputed singles matches. Hamsa Javagal was the first to finish as No. 2. She defeated McCormack, 6-2, 6-2.
The freshman from Tennessee improved to 7-5 this season and 2-2 in the Patriot League game.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Javagal said. “I think I gained some confidence from this match. I’m just taking what I did from this match and trying to implement it in my next match.”
Anushka Dania picked up the other singles victory and defeated Sparhawk, 6-0, 6-0, No. 4.
“It felt really good after a hard loss yesterday (for Bucknell) to come back,” said Anushka Dania.
James dropped his No. 1 match to Boeckman, 6-2, 6-1, and Brenda Cuadra dropped to Campbell with the same score as No. 5.
The Mountain Hawks hope to drive this momentum into next weekend’s competitions against the Army and Boston – both at West Point – on Friday and Saturday.
“I think their competitive spirit and their willingness to win was clearly what set them apart today,” Hendrix said. “I think this sets the tone for the rest of the season going into the Patriot League and the next few weeks. It’s a really good win. It’s always good to win against Lafayette, especially in a close , close victory that we had today. ”