Women’s tennis earns No. 2 ranking, falls against Amherst

Second-ranked women’s tennis (9-2, 2-1 in the NESCAC) fell to first-ranked Amherst 7-2 on Sunday, securing the Little Three title for Amherst. On Saturday, the women beat Skidmore 9-0.

Amherst dominated doubles play on Sunday, winning all three matches. Nikki Reich ’11 and Lucy Marchese ’11 lost in the number one spot 8-3. The number two team of Taylor French ’12 and Kristin Alotta ’12 fell 8-2, and the number three team of Nancy Worley ’13 and Caroline Capute ’12 lost 8-5.

The Ephs fought back in the singles matches, but were unable to overcome the Jeffs. Alotta won playing in the number one position with an impressive score of 6-1, 6-0. “Kristin played relaxed, confident tennis in her singles match against Amherst,” Head Coach Alison Swain ’01 said. “She was able to implement her game plan and stay focused. Her opponent is ranked No. 1 in the region and was previously undefeated in Div. III, so that really is a testament to Kristin’s tennis that she was able to control the match from start to finish.”

Rookie Kathleen Elkins ’14 also had a strong performance, defeating her opponent in the fourth spot 6-3, 6-0. “Kathleen played a fantastic match against Amherst. Kathleen is very fast, loves to grind and uses spin and control really well,” Swain said. “She also stayed very focused from finish to start and severely limited her opponents opportunities to get momentum.”
Marchese fought hard for the number three spot and, despite winning the second set of the match, fell 7-6, 3-6 and 13-11.

“It is really difficult to start singles down 0-3. Amherst definitely deserves credit for playing great tennis against us,” Swain said. “However, I do think we missed some opportunities by making too many unforced errors and letting them dictate doubles play. In singles, I think we can still work on being confident in our game plan on the big points. This is something that has already improved since the start of the season and I think we will continue to get better at.”

On Saturday, the women came out strong in the doubles matches against Skidmore, with all three pairs winning their matches. In the number one position, Reich and Marchese defeated their opponents 8-0, while Alotta and French won the number two match 8-1.
The women were equally successful in the singles matches, with every Eph defeating their Thoroughbred opponent in straight sets. Alotta continued her successful day, taking the number one spot with 6-2 and 6-4 victories. Kara Shoemaker ’14 was dominant in the fifth position, defeating her opponent 6-0 and 6-0.

“This week is a big week of matches for us. Middlebury and Tufts are always strong opponents,” Swain said. “We will continue to focus on our new doubles pairings and strengthening our tactics and confidence in this area going into both of these matches.”
The women will play Wednesday at Middlebury at 4 p.m. and will face Tufts on Saturday at home at 2 p.m.