Women’s tennis impresses at regionals

Women’s tennis (1-0) continued its strong start to the season last weekend at MIT in the three-day USTA/ITA Regional Championships. Notable results from the three-day tournament included the top-seeded doubles pairing of Kara Shoemaker ’14 and Rebecca Curran ’15 claiming the event title by defeating Amherst’s fifth-seeded team of Jen Newman and Zoe Pangalos in the final by a score of 8-6 on Day Three. In the singles event which took place throughout the three days of the tournament, Williams placed four players – Curran, Shoemaker, Kate Pollan ’16 and co-captain Nancy Worley ’13 – in the round of eight, more than any other team represented in tournament play and comprising half of the field. Curran, who was unseeded, advanced the farthest, falling in the semifinal round played on day three to the eventual runner-up, Middlebury’s Ria Gerger.

Williams faced its highest level of competition this year at ITAs. The tournament featured some of the most talented players in the New England region, including many from rival NESCAC schools. Nevertheless, the Ephs performed exceedingly well overall in their most meaningful test to date. The team entered seven players in the 64-player singles draw: Worley, Shoemaker, Curran, Pollan, Monica Pastor ’15, Maria Pylypiv ’15 and Riqui McCoy ’16, and all but Pastor advanced to the second round. The first two rounds of play both took place on Friday, the first day of play. Two Williams doubles teams – of McCoy and Pylypiv and Maya Hart ’16 and Worley – fell in the second round on Friday.

If the Ephs lacked the firepower to match their depth and consistency in the singles draw, they made up for it in doubles, which featured undoubtedly their strongest performance of the tournament. The most notable triumph came from the top-seeded pairing of Curran and Shoemaker in the final, who disposed their Jeff opponents 8-6 on Sunday. Shoemaker and Curran remain undefeated in doubles play this season. In addition, by virtue of their tournament victory the pair secured a berth at the ITA National Small College Tournament in Mobile, Ala., and automatic All-American status.

“As a team, we competed extremely well throughout the tournament,” Head Coach Alison Swain ’01 said. “The tournament not only represents the best players in the Northeast Region, but is a grueling event with two singles matches and two doubles matches played each day. Rebecca [Curran] and Kara [Shoemaker] really showed their fitness, competitive toughness and improvement in doubles tactics to take the title this year. I’m excited that we are playing such strong doubles across the board this early in the season. It’s an incredible accomplishment to win the tournament, and Shoemaker and Curran truly deserve the title of All-American.”

With this grueling three-day tournament behind them, women’s tennis has now begun its fall season in earnest. The team remains on the road for its next competition, traveling next to Amherst on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Co-captain Nancy Worley ’13 advanced to the quarterfinals in singles at regionals last weekend.