Lions finish fourth at national tennis championships

The York University Lions tennis team got an early start on the upcoming Ontario University Athletics (OUA) season by participating in the 2010 University & College National Team Championships Aug. 12 to 14.

The University of Montreal Carabins won the gold medal at the event by going undefeated, while the Lions finished fourth at the event with a narrow 6-5 defeat at the hands of Simon Fraser University in their final match of the tournament. The Lions were defeated 6-4 by the champion Carabins and 8-3 by the University of Alberta team in earlier round-robin action.

Above: From left, head coach Mike Mitchell, Stephanie Willerding, Jason Xue, Ahmed Shebl, York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, Tomo Ono and Jennifer Myers, director of York Sport & Recreation 

Finishing second and third, respectively, were the teams from the U of A and SFU.

Three-time OUA all-star Mikhail Lew came up big for the Lions by winning both of his singles matches and a doubles contest, alongside Ahmed Shebl, in the first two days of competition. His only defeat came in doubles against Montreal, when Lew and Shebl were edged 13-11 in a third-set match tiebreak.

Shebl was also dominant for the Lions, winning two of three singles matches to go along with a pair of wins in doubles.

Stephanie Willerding, an OUA all-star in her first year with the team this past season, was the top woman for the Lions. She won her singles match against Alberta and also claimed a pair of mixed doubles wins with Tomo Ono and Shebl.

Also winning a singles match was Julia Khalilova, who collected one of the Lions’ three points against Alberta.

The event was a combination tournament featuring players from the men’s and women’s teams at each institution. Each head-to-head contest between two teams included three men’s singles, three women’s singles, two men’s doubles, two women’s doubles and one mixed doubles match.

The Lions will spend the next several weeks practising before the OUA schedule begins again in September. Both the men and the women will kick off the season with matches against crosstown rivals the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 1pm.