Tennis Doubles Pairs Dominate Ashland University Doubles Invitational


Courtesy of Oberlin Athletics

Marta Laska and Anna Pastore compete together.

Last weekend, both tennis teams played their final matches of the fall season at the Ashland University Doubles Invitational. While the men’s team struggled, the women’s team, which won third place in the 2021–22 North Coast Atlantic Conference tournament, continued to excel, setting a high bar for the spring season.

Doubles partners first-year Lydia Zafeiri and fourth-year captain Dina Nouaime won four out of their five matches, their only loss a tantalizingly close match against Saginaw State Valley University, which ended 9–8 (7–5). One of their wins was against fellow NCAC school The College of Wooster. Their performances were a vast improvement from their winless finishes at the Kenyon Invitational a couple weeks prior.

Despite the long periods of play and inclement weather, Zafeiri focused on supporting her teammates and being in the moment.

“In every match, I was going in focused … and forgetting about the previous match, trying to play my best tennis, and cheering for my teammates,” Zafeiri said. “As an athlete, I was always focused on playing point by point, so then I’m not influenced about something that didn’t go well because then you continue to [make] mistakes. I just isolate myself and just focus on what I have to do.”

Oberlin’s second doubles pair, second-years Anna Pastore and Marta Laska, came off of a successful first season in which they earned All-NCAC honors. In addition, Laska won against last year’s NCAC player of the year and Pastore won the team’s Most Valuable Player award.

During the match, Pastore and Laska were able to finish 4–2, and just like Nouaime and Zafeiri, they also snagged a victory against Wooster, beating Charitha Patlolla and Kim Nguyen 8–2. For Laska, this is an accomplishment she is especially proud of since a match against the Wooster pair last year went into a tiebreak. Despite the lack of doubles experience before coming to Oberlin, Laska credits the duo’s contrasting playing styles and personalities, and sees it as an important asset for their future matches.

“Anna is more emotional and energetic, whereas I always try to stay calm on court,” Laska wrote in an email to the Review. “We’re also different players, [while] I like to be safe (I can play a few minute points with a lot of lobbying and slicing), Anna is more aggressive and is brave enough to take risks. This year we had a chance to play better teams, and we now can learn how to lose and how to fight even when your opponents are better than you. So, this weekend helped me to understand that there’s a lot of room for further improvement.”

While there are only four active members on women’s tennis right now, the full team will reconvene for the spring season.