Women’s tennis overpowers Bates at home

Coming off commanding wins against Middlebury and Tufts, women’s tennis (11-3, 6-1 in the NESCAC) continued its strong run with another victory this week. Williams ended its season with an 8-1 win over Bates on Saturday. The Ephs steamrolled the Bobcats, winning all of the doubles matches and all but one of the singles matches.

Williams challenged Bates on a chilly Saturday morning, prompting many of the players to cope with the elements. “The rain and wind took a little adjustment at the beginning,” Head Coach Alison Swain ’01 said, “but I was glad to see that the girls adjusted well.” Despite the weather, the Ephs were able to establish their dominance early in the match.

The tempo of the match was set by the women’s dominant opening performances in the doubles matches. Tri-captains Nikki Reich ’11 and Lucy Marchese ’11 collaborated to defeat their opponents by an 8-1 margin. Kristin Alotta ’12 and Taylor French ’12 handled the Bobcats in similar fashion, finishing them off 8-1.

Nancy Worley ’13 and Caroline Capute ’12 ran into some trouble late in their doubles matchup, but they were able to come away with a victory by a score of 8-3.

“The Bates team held serve well in that match, but it was nice to see Nancy and Caroline end strong,” Swain said. “Nancy and Caroline were determined to finish the match out and played some aggressive points at the end.” Tri-captain Kate Friedman ’11 and Kathleen Elkins ’14 effectively overmatched their Bobcat counterparts, rounding out the doubles matches with an 8-2 victory for the Ephs.

Going into the singles portion of the match against Bates, the Ephs were riding high on their strong 3-0 start. “It’s nice to go into singles with a lead,” Swain said. “Being up 3-0 helped our players build confidence. We’ve worked a lot on doubles and our hard work is starting to pay off as we head into the latter portion of the season.”

The strong play carried over into the singles portion, as the women won seven of their eight matches. The Ephs did not drop a set to the Bobcats, cruising to five straight-set victories. Worley was victorious in the number one spot, defeating her opponent 6-1, 6-1. Elkins also found success in the number two position, blanking her opponent 6-0, 6-0. Reich claimed a 6-1, 6-2 victory in the third position, while Capute defeated her opponent in just one set, as her Bobcat rival was forced to retire due to injury. Kara Shoemaker ’14 also won 6-0, 6-0 in the fifth spot.

The strong play of the seniors on the team has helped propel the Ephs throughout the season, and Saturday proved no different. Friedman finished off her opponent in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-0, in what was likely the senior’s final collegiate match. “It was nice to see her finish out the match and clinch the shutout,” Swain said of Friedman’s result. “She’s a tremendously hard worker.”

Swain also noted the impact  Reich and Marchese have had on the team: “Out of the first doubles position, Nikki and Lucy set the tone for positive competitive energy from the start,” she said of the seniors’ leadership.

Williams will look to earn a conference title as it competes in the NESCAC tournament on Friday and Saturday at Middlebury as the No. 2 seed.

“We have very high goals, but we are really focusing on taking it one match at a time,” Swain said of the women’s goals for NESCACs. “We’re going to look for a strong, focused effort each time we go out there.”

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