Women’s tennis opens season with 8-1 defeat of Trinity

Women’s tennis (1-0, 1-0 in the NESCAC) opened the season last weekend with an 8-1 win against Trinity.

The Ephs earned their victory by taking all three of the doubles and five of the six singles matchups against the Bantams. There were successes all around, as captains Steph Hall ’04, Julie Mallory ’04 and Kate Troy ’04 led a strong doubles showing.

According to Mallory, Sept. 20 is an atypically late start date for the team, but the extra time in practice seemed to give the Ephwomen more confidence going into their first dual match. The extra practice showed, especially in the matches at the lower end of the draw, where Williams’ small numbers did not translate into a lack of depth. The Ephs lost only eight games in singles matches four through six.

Alex Maclennan ’06 made a strong showing as the team’s top underclassman, winning her number three singles match against Trinity’s Katherine Ficken (6-2, 6-2). She and Caroline Wasserman ’04 also defeated Diane Dreyfus and Brittany Olwine (8-4) in the number two doubles. Wasserman, who is returning to the team after taking last season off, also emerged victorious in her number six singles match, defeating Trinity’s Julia Hoffman in straight sets (6-0, 6-4).

Caroline Bartlett ’06 was forced to sit out the spring season last year, but the time off failed to show in the results from her matches. Playing as the number five singles, she defeated Melissa White (6-2, 6-0). Then, she teamed up with Mallory to defeat the Trinity pair of White and Hoffman in the number three doubles (8-1). For all the team’s successes on the day, Bartlett’s may have been most significant of all. Now that she is back and contributing, the Ephs have a strong sophomore duo with her and Maclennan.

The team’s senior leadership also did well in their singles matches. Mallory handed Trinity’s Dreyfus a loss (6-3, 6-1) in the number two singles. Coming out of the number four singles spot, Troy dominated her opponent, Olwine, in a decisive match (6-2, 6-0).

In the number one doubles event, team captains Hall and Troy came together to beat Trinity’s top duo of Ficken and Diana Goldman (8-4). Goldman is the Bantams’ top player. She has twice been named all-NESCAC and was the NESCAC Rookie of the Year in her first year.

Goldman showed how she has earned these distinctions, defeating Hall in the only Trinity victory of the afternoon (7-6, 6-4). The Bantams are not one of the better teams in the NESCAC, but Head Coach Julie Greenwood felt that the first match showed the team’s strong potential. “This was a perfect first match,” Greenwood said. “Trinity was a challenge for us, and it was a perfect way to begin our season and work through the first match jitters.”

Mallory echoed her coach’s sentiments. “Trinity is usually stronger in the singles draw,” she said, “and we were really pushed at each and every spot.” The Bantams were a strong opponent and the Ephs’ performance against them should serve as a shot of confidence as the team heads into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) regional tournament next weekend at Bowdoin.

The tournament at Bowdoin draws teams not just from within the NESCAC but from all over the northeast region. Unlike the dual match format, players will have to play through a single-elimination draw. There will be 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams in the tournament, meaning that the entire weekend, Friday through Sunday, will be packed with tennis, and well worth the trip for anybody planning to make the drive to Bowdoin.

In theory, this tournament draws only the top players from all over the region, with each school given a certain number of openings to hand out at their own discretion. Williams has potentially up to five singles spots and two doubles, large numbers that are a testament to the strength of the program. Nearly the entire Williams team will be playing in matches there. There is also a lot at stake at this tournament, as Troy and Mallory found out last year, when their victory in the doubles draw earned them their all-American honors.