Women’s tennis wins at NEWITTs

Ending a successful fall season last weekend at the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament (NEWITT), held in Northampton, Mass., women’s tennis won both the A and B draws. The NEWITT is unique in that players advance in pairs in a best-of-three format. Thus, Eph teams began by facing pairs from other teams, split up to play two singles matches, and then played a final doubles match.

“Winning both the A and B draw this weekend was certainly a wonderful way to end our fall,” Head Coach Alison Swain said. “I think we have had one of the most successful fall seasons on record as a team.”

In the A group, Williams entered powerhouse duos consisting of co-captain Cary Gibson ’09 and Nikki Reich ’11 and another team of co-captain Annie Hancock ’09 and Ashley Parsons ’10. The B draw consisted of rookie standout Kristin Alotta ’12 and Genny Loomis ’10, and Katie Friedman ’11 and Caroline Capute ’12.

In the first day of tournament play Gibson dropped her tiebreaker with her Middlebury opponent, who won 10-7, but Reich decisively won her singles matches 6-2 and 6-4. The team took their doubles match 8-5.

Rounding out the scoring for the A team, Hancock and Parsons won their doubles match 8-1 and both won their individual singles matches.

For the B draw, both Alotta and Loomis shut out their doubles opponents 8-0 and nearly did the same in their singles play, with Alotta notching two 6-0, 6-0 victories and Loomis only allowing one point to slip by in a 6-1, 6-0 outcome. Friedman and Capute won their doubles match by default, but were still able to showcase their depth and skill by each winning their singles matches effortlessly; Friedman earned 6-0, 6-0 victory and Capute ended with a 6-0, 6-1 final.

All four Eph teams played well in the Round of 16 and advanced to the semifinals. The A draw doubles teams both edged 2-1 victories while the B teams swiftly shut-out their opponents, 3-0. In the quarterfinals top-seeded Gibson and Reich took their match against Amherst opponents, but MIT overcame Hancock and Parsons. Both B draws won their quarterfinal doubles matches.

In the semifinals on Sunday morning, Gibson and Reich started off strong by overwhelming their Amherst rivals Brittany Berckes and Natasha Brown, who had defeated Gibson and Reich in doubles play in the finals of the Middlebury Doubles Tournament two weeks ago. Gibson and Reich defeated the Jeffs pair 3-0 to win the tournament.

For the B draw semifinals, Friedman and Capute fell to the Amherst opponents. Fellow Ephs Alotta and Loomis took a 3-0 victory over the same Jeff duo to advance to the finals for their draw. In the finals they notched a 2-1 victory over other Amherst opponents, winning the tournament for the B draw.

“In the fall tournaments that we play, we often end up playing Amherst throughout,” Swain said. “I think it is a testament to the strength of both our programs. It is certainly a benefit to have such a strong rival in our own conference. They work hard to compete against us and, in turn, we work hard with the goal of competing our best against them.”

On Sunday, Oct. 12 the ladies played their last regular match of the fall season and took a 5-4 victory over ninth-ranked Wellesley. This win cemented the team’s undefeated 4-0 record for the fall.

In a slight anomaly, at the conclusion of doubles play the Ephs found themselves on the lesser side of a 2-1 Wellesley lead. In singles play, Gibson fell after three sets to Wellesley rookie Marie Watanabe, and Blue Mohona Siddique defeated Friedman. The other women won their respective matches.

With the score tied, the match fell on the shoulders of Parsons, who dropped her first set 6-3 but then came back for 6-2, 6-3 victories to seal the win for the Ephs.

Amherst, as well, couldn’t seem to match up to Williams on Saturday, Oct. 11 when the Ephs took away a 6-3 victory. The team dominated doubles play. In singles play, Gibson once again took the victory over her Jeff opponent. Parsons earned the honor of handing Amherst’s Laura Danzig her first singles loss of the year. Alotta won her match, as well, playing at No. 4.

With play reaching its conclusion for the fall, the team looks forward to the upcoming spring season. “Our fall is typically more focused on individual play, but I would say this season it truly was team results that brought us our greatest results and our greatest satisfaction,” Swain said. “I think that the team is sad to see the fall season end, but are very excited for all that the spring season holds.”