No. 1 women’s tennis (18-1, 7-0 in the NESCAC) closed out the regular season with a pair of victories over Bowdoin and Bates on Saturday in Maine. The Ephs topped the Polar Bears 6-3 before going on to best the Bobcats 7-2.
Bowdoin proved a difficult challenge in Saturday’s competition: The women lost two of their three doubles matches to open the day’s competition. The No. 1 pairing of Kara Shoemaker ’14 and tri-captain Taylor French ’12 dropped its match 8-5, but the Ephs rebounded at No. 2. Tri-captain Kristin Alotta ’12 and Kathleen Elkins ’14 dismantled Bowdoin’s No. 2 team 8-5 to even the match. However, tri-captain Caroline Capute ’12 and Nancy Worley ’13 fell 8-5 at No. 3, leaving the Ephs down 2-1 heading into singles play.
The women rallied during singles play, taking five of the six matches. Alotta, who is ranked No. 8 in Div. III, claimed the No. 1 spot easily, winning 7-6, 6-3. Shoemaker dropped her first set 0-6, but took her next two sets 6-4 and 6-1 to take the match. Worley won easily at No. 3 with a pair of 6-1 sets. At No. 4, Elkins stumbled in her first set, losing 3-6, before coming back to tackle her Polar Bear opponent 6-4, 6-2. Capute brought home the women’s final singles victory at No. 6, winning a tight match 5-7, 6-4, 10-4 to give the women a 6-3 victory over Bowdoin.
Against Bates later on Saturday, the women again struggled in the doubles round. French and Shoemaker dropped an extremely close match 9-8 (6) at the No. 1 position, and Worley and Capute fell 8-3 at No. 2. At No. 3, Curran and Maria Pylypiv ’15 claimed the women’s only doubles win 8-2.
Entering the singles round down 2-1, the women had to fight back to overpower Bates. The Ephs responded by sweeping the Bobcats. At No. 1, Alotta overpowered her opponent 6-4, 6-4, while Worley trounced her Bobcat foe 7-6, 6-1 in the second slot. Elkins followed with a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 3, and Curran brought home a win in similar fashion, conquering the No. 4 position 6-0, 6-2. Pylypiv owned the No. 5 spot and took home the win 6-2, 6-0. Veranika Li ’15 earned a win at No. 6 with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. The women’s sweep in the singles gave them a 7-2 win over Bates.
“It was impressive to see every single person on our team contributing to the energy and exctment of our last two matches of the season,” French said. “Next week is all about focusing on ways in which we can continue to improve before NESCACs.”
With the pair of conference victories the women remain undefeated in the NESCAC at the conclusion of the regular season. They will enter the NESCAC tournament as the top seed, and as such have earned hosting rights. Competition will start on Saturday morning, but the Ephs have a bye in the first round. First round play will be between Tufts and Bowdoin and Trinity and Middlebury on Friday. The women will play the winner of the Tufts-Bowdoin match-up in the semifinals on Saturday at 9 a.m., while Amherst faces off against the victor of the Trinity-Middlebury match. Winners of those respective matches will play in Sunday’s championship match at 9 a.m.