Fourth-ranked women’s tennis (11-2, 4-1 in the NESCAC) had a successful week: The team defeated fifth-ranked Tufts on Saturday and Middlebury on Wednesday. The women dominated both opponents, dropping Tufts 8-1 and Middlebury 7-2.
Williams faced Tufts on a rainy Saturday, and weather forced the match to be held inside Lansing Chapman Rink. “We had a two-and-a-half hour delay to the match start,” Head Coach Alison Swain ’01 said. “This team handles changes in game plan in stride and they really didn’t miss a beat coming out of the warm-up to start play.”
The women won two of the doubles matches, putting them ahead 2-1 from the get-go. Lucy Marchese ’11 and Nikki Reich ’11 won a hard-fought match 9-7 in the number one spot. In the second spot, Kristin Alotta ’12 and Taylor French ’12 overcame their opponents 8-6. In the third position, Nancy Worley ’13 and Caroline Capute ’12 were defeated 8-0 by their Jumbo rivals.
“We focused a lot on doubles play throughout the week and I think it paid off,” Swain said. “We pulled out two very close doubles matches against Tufts. I think the ingredient that helped us get those wins under pressure was the confidence that comes from knowing we put in the work to be successful.”
The women were dominant in the singles, winning all of the matches. “Our singles has consistently been strong, so once we went into singles up 2-1 the girls really took control of the match,” Swain said. Alotta played a strong three-set match at No. 1. The Eph finally upset her opponent, defending NCAA singles champion Julia Browne, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Marchese and Kathleen Elkins ’14 also saw their matches go to three sets, but both Ephs prevailed: Marchese claimed a win in the third position, while Elkins defended the No. 4 slot.
“Kristin has a lot of experience playing at the top of the line up now and takes that privilege and responsibility very seriously,” Swain said. “I was also very proud of Nikki Reich and Caroline Capute, who had to wait for the second round of singles play to compete … They cruised through their matches, which can be hard to do with such a long time gap between the end of their doubles matches and the start of their singles.”
On Wednesday at Middlebury, the women won by a match score of 7-2. The Ephs had a rocky start in the doubles, losing the first two matches. Fortunately, the No. 3 team of Elkins and Worley was able to overcome its opponents 8-5, reducing the Panther lead to one going into the singles matches.
The Ephs came back in the singles, claiming all six matches. Alotta found success in the first slot, winning her match 6-4, 6-3. Worley was the only Eph to play three sets, and after losing her first set dismissed her opponent 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“At this point, we are looking ahead to post-season play and focusing on how we can continue to build on our strengths and improve our weaknesses before NESCACs in two weeks and then again, if we make the NCAA tournament,” Swain said. “The girls are focused right now, and we will continue to pay special attention to our doubles play in practices moving forward.”
The women have one more regular season match before NESCACs, which will be held at Middlebury on May 6. Williams will close out its regular season against Bates at home at 10 a.m. on Saturday.