Ephs set to defend 6th NCAA title

Women’s tennis opened their fall campaign last weekend, hosting Vassar, Middlebury and Skidmore in a round robin tournament. Previously called the Williams Invitational, the tournament was renamed this year to honor Lindsay Morehouse ’00, who died in the September 11th attacks.

Lindsay Thygesen ’14
Lindsay Thygesen ’14 sprints toward the net at the Lindsay Morehouse Invitational this weekend. Courtesy of Todd Brenner, Opinions Editor.

Morehouse was a tennis captain during her time at Williams, as well as teammate of Head Coach Alison Swain ’01. The tournament focused on participation – therefore no overall winner was named – but several Ephs had impressive showings.

Nancy Worley ’13 went undefeated in her matches, winning 6-4, 6-0 and 6-3, 6-3. Kara Shoemaker ’14 also won each of her singles matches, as did rookie Maria Pylypiv ’15. The Ephs’ doubles teams also did well, with three teams winning both their matches, including Lindsay Thygesen ’14 and rookie Rebecca Curran ’15.

Tri-captains Caroline Capute ’12, Taylor French ’12 and last year’s No. 1 singles player Kristin Alotta ’12 will lead the Eph team coming off of its fourth consecutive, and sixth overall, NCAA Div. III National Championship win. “Our three senior captains have really embraced their leadership roles on the team this year,” Swain said. “They are so excited to be captains and truly want to make this year enjoyable, memorable and a fun experience for everyone. I am really impressed with their team-focused, positive attitude thus far as well as the standard they have set for an ethic of hard work and fair play.”

The women lost three seniors to graduation: Nikki Reich ’11, who was the first Eph woman tennis player to win over 100 doubles matches, Lucy Marchese ’11, who was Reich’s doubles partner – creating a doubles team ranked No. 7 in the nation – and Katie Friedman ’11. However, the Ephs return many key players, including Worley, who played No. 2 singles last year and was ranked No. 18 in the nation, and Kathleen Elkins ’14, who held the No. 4 singles spot last year, was named Second Team All-NESCAC and went undefeated in her spring singles play. “Nancy, Kathleen and Kara will be key players on our roster again this year, with Kara stepping up from No. 7 singles to contribute in both doubles and singles play more significantly,” Swain said. “Lindsay also returns and brings a lot of doubles experience and adds depth to our team.”

The Ephs added three rookies this year, Curran, Pylypiv and Monica Pastor ’15. “Our three freshmen are all very talented players who are excited to be part of our team-focused environment,” Swain said.

The women will play again this Saturday, hosting Tufts and Wesleyan. The women’s brief fall campaign includes key matchups such as against Amherst on Sept. 24 and Wellesley on the 25th, before the team travels to Bates to compete in the ITA New England Regional Tournament the weekend of Sept. 30. “The fall is a time for us to gain competitive experience and start to work towards long term goals and improvements,” Swain said. “This fall is less about establishing a lineup and more about everyone working towards our long term goals together.”