Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Continuous Success: ODU Men’s Tennis Team Kicks Off Spring Season Strong

Bruce Butler (Courtesy of ODU Athletics)
Monarchs come together to break down before their matches.

Old Dominion University is known for several sports that have received national recognition. Among these sports, the Old Dominion Tennis program has been particularly successful in recent years. In their 2023 season, the ODU men’s tennis team achieved an impressive record of 18-10 and won their first-ever Sun Belt Conference championship. 

As they headed into the 2024 spring season, the team was fortunate to have four players returning from the previous year’s squad, including two award winners: Cosme Rolland De Ravel, who had been named ITA Atlantic Region Freshman of the Year, and Jakob Cadonau, who was honored as the Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year.

The van Schalkwyk brothers, Connor and Codie, also returned after finishing the fall season with a 7-2 record and making it to the ITA Fall Nationals finals. Their impressive performance earned them a sixth-place ranking in the doubles category —the highest ranking achieved by a doubles team under head coach Dominik Mueller and the second-highest in school history. Rolland De Ravel and Cadonau also had a successful run by winning the ITA Atlantic Regional and finishing the fall season ranked 33rd.

Old Dominion got off to a great start to this season with back-to-back 7-0 victories against Temple and Howard. They won all the singles matches in the first game, and all but one in the second. Cadonau played an important role in both victories, securing the clinching point in both matches.

The Monarchs tennis team embarked on their first dual-road trip of the season with a 5-2 victory against Wisconsin in their first game of the weekend series. In the doubles category, ODU secured the point with a 6-3 win by Cadonau and Rolland De Ravel at No. 2, after Wisconsin forfeited at No. 3. In singles, Cadonau started strong with a win by forfeit at No. 6. The team sealed the deal with victories at No. 3 by Rolland De Ravel and No. 4 by sophomore Yanis Moundir, leading 4-0. Connor wrapped up the night with a 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 2, giving ODU a 5-0 lead. Although Wisconsin won the final two matches, it was not enough to overturn ODU’s impressive lead.

Junior Codie van Schalkwyk in action. (Bruce Butler (Courtesy of ODU Athletics) )

The next day, they continued their winning streak with a 7-0 triumph over Drake. In the doubles competition, Moundir and senior Maxime Mareschal-Hay secured the point with a 6-3 victory at No. 3. Moving on to singles, freshman Aryan Saleh’s 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 5 and Connor’s 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 2 gave ODU a 3-0 lead. Cadonau sealed the deal with a 7-6, 6-0 win at No. 6, extending the Monarchs’ lead to 4-0. Codie then triumphed at the top spot, and Moundir rounded out the sweep with a win as the No. 4.

Unfortunately, the Monarchs lost their next match against Penn in a 4-3 contest that lasted nearly four hours. In the doubles match, Moundir and Mareschal-Hay won 6-1 at No. 3, but Penn came back and won 6-4 at the No. 2 spot. The deciding match went to a tiebreaker at No. 1, where Penn won 7-6 (9-7) and got the team point. In the singles match, ODU took the lead with Moundir’s win at No. 4, but Penn tied the match with a win at No. 6. The Monarchs won the next two contests, with Connor at No. 2 and Saleh at No. 5, but Penn won the last two matches at No. 3 and No. 1, with all five sets going to tiebreakers.

The team bounced back from Saturday’s loss the next day and won a match against Brown with a score of 7-0. After that, the Monarchs focused on two local matches and won against Norfolk State with a score of 4-0 and against William & Mary with a score of 5-2. ODU continued its winning streak by winning two more matches against VCU and Penn State, making it five victories in a row. 

The team shifted their focus to the 76th annual Blue-Grey tournament taking place in Montgomery, Alabama, which they were invited to due to their impressive performance last season. The tournament features eight men’s teams, all of which are ranked in the top 64 of the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll. ODU ranked 47th nationally and secured the fifth seed.

During the first few matches of the tournament, ODU lost two games consecutively for the first time in the current season. They were defeated by Princeton (No. 31) and Rice University (No. 64)with scores of 0-4 and 3-4 respectively. However, the team ended the tournament on a high note by winning against Boise State, ranked at No. 51, with a score of 4-2.

In April, the Monarchs will start with a road weekend, visiting Charlotte on April 5 and then Coastal Carolina on April 7. They’ll celebrate Senior Day on April 11 with a 1 p.m. start against UNC Wilmington and close the regular season at JMU on April 13. The Sun Belt Tournament will be held in Rome, Georgia from April 18 to April 21. 

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About the Contributor
Benjamin Draper
Benjamin Draper, Sports Editor
Benjamin serves as the Sports Editor for Mace and Crown. He is a junior who majors in Communications, more specifically ‘Media Studies’ along with a minor in Sports Management. He is very excited for the opportunity of leading the sports staff at the Mace & Crown. Since he was 4 years old, Benjamin has wanted to pursue a career in sports media as a Broadcaster/Reporter. On the side, he does broadcasting/production for the ODU Esports program and is Sports Director for WODU Studios. After college, Benjamin hopes to land an opportunity in a sports media role at the professional level whether its a media outlet or sports franchise. You can reach him at [email protected]

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