Women’s tennis stays undefeated

With a competitive six-match spring break contest schedule, women’s tennis powered through the training trip and emerged undefeated against No. 26 Sewanee, No. 5 Denison, No. 11 Washington University, No. 2 Washington and Lee and No. 4 Emory. After the impressive spring break sweep, the Ephs returned to Williamstown to play their first at-home match of the season against Tufts, winning 6-3.

The win puts women’s tennis at a flawless 10-0 record on the season, and 2-0 in conference play.

“It was a very successful trip, not just from the standpoint of going undefeated, but primarily because playing the top teams in the country gives our team the opportunity to gauge what we need to improve going forward with the rest of our season,” Head Coach Alison Swain said. “I think we returned from the trip confident in our ability to compete with any team in the country but also with a sense of motivation to continue to work harder and hone our skills in the next few weeks.”

Co-captain Cary Gibson ’09 and Nikki Reich ’11, playing at No. 1 doubles, set the tone for the day by defeating Tufts’ No. 1 team Julia Browne and Meghan McCooey, 8-6. Grace Baljon ’10 and Taylor French ’12 defeated their Jumbo opponents 8-1 and Genny Loomis ’10 and Kristin Alotta ’12 lost their match 8-6, putting the Ephs at 2-1 in doubles play.

“We have worked hard over the past two years to really play an aggressive style of doubles, and the work has paid off,” Swain said. “Win or lose, we are often the team that is in control of court positioning in doubles. In the long run, as we cut down on errors and gain more confidence in our net skills, I think this strategy will really continue to help our doubles rise to the top.”

In singles play, Jumbos Browne and McCooey rallied from their doubles loss to pull wins over Baljon and Gibson, respectively. Browne is ranked No. 1 nationally in singles play. Things were looking better for the Ephs on courts 3 and 4, where Reich and Alotta scored victories over their opponents to continue undefeated in singles play on the season. Playing at courts 6 and 5 respectively, co-captain Annie Hancock ’09 and Ashley Parsons ’10 won their matches as well.

“Our match against Tufts was a great season opener,” Swain said. “Having so many teams in our conference ranked in the top 15 in the country means we can never take a day off. Looking ahead, every match we play is important, and every team we play is going to work hard to beat us. We know that we are going to have to give our best to come up with wins against every team we play from here on out. In the end, I think this kind of demanding schedule prepares us best for postseason competition.”

Women’s tennis played conference rival Middlebury in their second regular season game yesterday, and results came in too late for publication. The women will next look to beat archrival Amherst at home on Saturday at 11 a.m.