Women’s tennis preps for playoffs

Women’s tennis’ (15-1, 17-1) regular season came to a triumphant close last weekend as the team recorded two 9-0 victories, first against Trinity on Saturday, then against Hamilton on Sunday. The wins round out a near-perfect season for the team, with Amherst handing the team its sole loss on April 18.

On Sunday the Ephs began well when doubles duos co-captain Cary Gibson ’09 and Nikki Reich ’11, Annie Hancock ’09 and Kristen Alotta ’12 and Ashley Parsons ’10 and Genny Loomis ’10 swept the Continentals 3-0. Gibson and Reich’s 8-5 win at court one was the closest contest, and the other two doubles pairs pulled in solid 8-3 and 8-1 wins.

In singles play, no player lost more than two games in a set. Grace Baljon ’10, Taylor French ’12 and Caroline Capute ’12 each hit their way to definitive 6-1, 6-0 wins. Parsons was equally successful, winning 6-0 and 6-1. Gibson, at court two, let two games go in her first set at 6-2 but earned the win in her second with a 6-1 finish, and Friedman rounded out the sweep at court six with her 6-0, 6-2 victory.

“I think the team is playing with a lot of confidence right now, yet we still know that we are going to have our toughest competition ahead of us,” said Head Coach Alison Swain.

The Ephs’ match on Saturday against Trinity mirrored very closely their triumph over Hamilton, although the Bantams gave the Ephs more of an interesting time with singles play before they fell in a 9-0 shutout. Just like on Sunday, the doubles were taken in three quick wins, although Baljon and French played in the position at court two and Hancock and Alotta took court three.

Singles play against the Bantams proved more difficult, with Alotta barely winning by her first set 7-5 before rebounding for a decisive 6-1 victory in her second, while Lucy Marchese ’11 relinquished her second set only to come back for a three-set win. Playing at the No. 1 position, Baljon won by only a break in her first set at 6-4, but brought home the win with a 6-1 put-away in her second. Gibson, Reich and Hancock all recorded two-set victories as well.

“It was wonderful to finish out our regular season with four straight 9-0 victories,” Swain said, referring to the Ephs’ April 19 shutouts of Colby and Bowdoin. “It was a fun weekend, beautiful weather, great matches – what more can you ask for!”

What the Ephs could ask for right now is a way to win the NESCAC title; they will be hosting the first round of the Championships this upcoming Friday beginning at 9 a.m. A win in the tournament will put the women back in a position to repeat last year’s feat of bringing home the NCAA title and the honor of being called the No. 1 women’s tennis team in the nation.