Women’s tennis slams Bowdoin 7-2

Fourth-ranked women’s tennis (8-1, 2-0 in the NESCAC) found success in its spring home opener Saturday, taking its match against 12th-ranked Bowdoin by a decisive 7-2 result. On April 2, the team kicked off NESCAC conference play, shutting out Conn. College with a 9-0 victory. The women had a successful spring break, compiling a 6-1 record after defeating TCNJ, Breneau, Washington and Lee, Sewanee, Gustavus and Emory and falling to the University of Chicago.

On Saturday, Williams came out strong against conference rival Bowdoin, going 2-1 in doubles play on the day. Co-captain Nikki Reich ’11 and Lucy Marchese ’11, playing at No. 1 doubles, took their match 8-6, but the Polar Bears tied things up, topping Taylor French ’12 and Kristin Alotta ’12 in the second slot by the same score. However, Caroline Capute ’12 and Nancy Worley ’13 put the Ephs ahead 2-1 with their 8-6 win in the No. 3 position.

Capute carried her doubles momentum into singles play. She lost her first set 4-6 but rallied to take her second 6-2 and secured the match in an 11-9 super tiebreak. Worley, Marchese, Kathleen Elkins ’14 and Kara Shoemaker ’14 each won their matches in straight sets, bringing the Ephs to 5-6 overall in singles play and garnering the team a win.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day for our first home opener against Bowdoin,” Head Coach Alison Swain ’01 said. “It certainly added to the team’s enthusiasm to be playing at home and wanting to get that first win of the season on our home courts.”Swain added that the team “is really starting to play more aggressively and trust their games.”

Coming off its spring break training trip, the team dominated play against Conn. College on April 2, sweeping both doubles and singles play. Both doubles teams of Alotta and French and Capute and Worley swept their matches 8-0. In singles, no player lost more than two games in a set.
The Ephs faced seven schools throughout the course of its annual spring break trip and won six of the seven matches. Swain creates the schedule for spring break herself, and she said that this spring’s was “extremely tough.”

“I’m a big believer in playing the strongest schedule possible in order to make us match tough and in order to maximize improvement,” Swain said.

The women competed in a five-game tournament held at Emory, facing the University of Chicago and Washington and Lee on March 26, Sewanee on March 27, Gustavus on March 30 and finally first-ranked Emory on March 31. The women fell to the University of Chicago on March 25. Williams traveled to Breanau on March 22, winning that match 8-1.

The Emory match, which was the final match played over the trip and, according to Swain, the highlight, got off to a rocky start for the Ephs. Williams lost all three doubles matches but came back to clinch the match after winning five of the six singles games.

“It’s very rare that a team comes back to win a match after losing all three doubles points,” Swain said. “In fact, I don’t know the last time it happened in women’s Div. III tennis. It was really impressive to see everyone competing so hard in their respective singles matches and a testament to our team’s toughness to win five of six singles matches against the No. 1 team in the country,” Swain said.

On March 19, the team traveled to TCNJ. The Ephs bested the Lions 7-2, starting their spring break on a positive note.

The team will next travel to Skidmore on Saturday for a 1 p.m. match.