Women’s tennis beats Cards, remains perfect

On Tennis Parents’ Weekend and in their final home match of the fall season, the members of women’s tennis (4-0; 3-0 in the NESCAC) made their families proud by soundly defeating the Wesleyan Cardinals by a score of 9-0. The two-time national champions remained undefeated with their third shutout in four games.

The Ephwomen began the match strongly by easily defeating Wesleyan in doubles. The teams of Steph Hall ’04/Caroline Wasserman ’03, Kate Troy ’04/Julie Mallory ’04 and Tracy Cheung ’03/Alex Maclennan ’06 all won by a score of 8-1. Cheung and Maclennan proved to be a lethal combination: Maclennan’s serves were very effective and Cheung’s overhand simply overpowered her opponents.

“We felt really good going into the doubles,” tri-captain Cheung said of her doubles game with partner Maclennan. “We’ve been working on a lot of things since the ITA last Saturday and we’re gearing up towards Amherst and the NESCACs.”

The Ephs matched their strong play in singles last Wednesday by again winning every point. Wasserman, Hall, Mallory, Maclennan, Troy and Brittany Binet ’05 all played very well en route to winning all singles points for the third time this season.

Hall won by default because her opponent, Tiffany Lo, had to quit in the third and final set due to a wrist injury. Hall had fallen behind early, losing the first set 4-6. However, she made a valiant comeback to win the second set and was winning 2-1 in the third set before Lo succumbed.

“After Middlebury, we’ve had a really great dynamic,” Wasserman said. “We played well then – it was a long and tough match indoors, but we played through it as a team. It was much more of a unified team experience. We carried a lot of energy into this match and really performed today.”

The Ephwomen had a trying week of practice as they worked to regain focus and to rebound from a tournament last Sunday that produced mixed results.

“We worked incredibly hard in practice since the ITA,” Head Coach Sarah Marks said. “It was a very draining week, but the team brought their top tennis to today’s match.”

Because it poured all Friday night, Marks awoke early Saturday morning to squeegee the courts dry. Aside from a few scattered wind gusts, however, the weather was gorgeous for the Ephwomen and their families.

“It was a beautiful day,” Marks said. “Although it rained last night, today turned out to be ideal for our last home match. It was also a great dynamic to have so much support from our families.”

Almost every Eph had a member of her family attending the match. Families arrived from as far away as California, Seattle, Georgia and all over the East Coast.

Although Wesleyan is by no means a perennial power in women’s tennis, the win carries some significance pertaining to next week’s match at Amherst (4-1). The Ephs will now be battling the Jeffs for the Little Three Championship.

In addition, Amherst, who lost its only match to Div. I UMass-Amherst by a close score of 5-4, arguably poses the Ephs’ greatest competition in the NESCAC. Shortly after the Ephs shut out Wesleyan, Amherst shut out Colby College and both teams are looking very strong heading into Sunday’s match.

The Ephs certainly have built up considerable momentum thus far, as they have won 38 of their last 39 matches.

In spite of Mother Nature acting up yet again earlier in the week, women’s tennis shut out the Middlebury Panthers 9-0 on Wednesday. It was an important bounce back win for the squad, which had struggled at the Omni Hotel Regional Tennis Tournament in Maine the previous weekend. In this match, the Ephwomen were dominant in both singles and doubles, winning all but one set.

The newly arranged doubles pairs breezed by the Panthers to open the match strong. Midway through the match continuous rainfall forced it indoors, but the change of court had little effect of the Eph’s play. Hall/Wasserman, Mallory/Troy and Maclennan/Cheung were the victors, winning 8-3, 8-2 and 8-2, respectively. Mallory and Troy are fresh off their doubles title won at Bowdoin and continue to impress.

Singles matches rebounded well from last week’s disappointing showing. Wasserman, Hall, Mallory, Maclennan, Troy and Binnet were all victorious in the Towne Field House. The Ephwomen’s serves were particularly effective against the Panthers, as were their fierce groundstrokes.

“Middlebury was a great win,” Marks said. “It was the first match for the team in two weeks, and I was impressed with how everyone focused so well. It was just a solid match.”