Women’s tennis closes out fall season with strong showing at NEWITTs

Women’s tennis concluded its fall season last weekend at the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament (NEWITT) held at Mount Holyoke. The tournament was unsanctioned and as such does not count toward rankings. Additionally, Kara Shoemaker ’14 and Rebecca Curran ’15 battled to third at the USTA/ITA Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala., last weekend. On Oct. 6, the women fell 6-3 to a difficult Amherst team in the final dual meet of the season.

The format of the tournament was non-standard: Each round consisted of a doubles match and two singles matches, with teams advancing by winning at least two out of three matches in a round. Williams advanced three out of four pairs from the first round, including the team of Maria Pylypiv ’15 and Riqui McCoy ’16,  who defeated Amherst 2-1, and of Monica Pastor ’15 and Alex Stone ’16, who handily dispatched a pair from Roger Williams 3-0. Because of the unsanctioned nature of the tournament, Nancy Worley ’13 had the opportunity to be paired with her sister Catherine Worley, who plays for Tufts.  The Worley sister duo defeated one of Trinity’s entries 2-1. Only the team of Maya Hart ’16 and co-captain Veranika Li ’13 failed to advance, falling 2-1 to Middlebury’s pair.

Pylypiv and McCoy advanced the furthest of any Williams duo, dismantling Trinity in the quarterfinals 3-0 before falling to rival Amherst’s Jen Newman and Zoe Pangalos 2-1 in the semifinals. Although McCoy defeated Pangalos in their singles match 6-1, 6-2, Amherst prevailed in the doubles match 9-8, as well as in the singles match between Newman and Pylypiv (6-3, 6-0) to advance to the finals. Incidentally, Amherst was also responsible for ousting the Williams pair of Stone and Pastor from the tournament. However, Head Coach Alison Swain ’01 viewed this result and most others from NEWITTs in a positive light. “Though they lost [their singles matches], I think they learned just how well they can compete with any lineup player on any team,” she said.

Swain has continually emphasized the importance of the fall season for gaining match experience as opposed to achieving easy victories, especially for the rookie class. “It was a fantastic way to play some high-level opponents and tougher opponents than we sometimes see in regular dual match play,” she said.

Notably absent from the lineup at NEWITTs was the doubles pairing of Shoemaker and Curran that recently won the New England ITA Regionals. Shoemaker and Curran competed last week in the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala., where they made it to semifinals before falling to top-seeded Emory. They then defeated Lawless and Roberg of Whitman, 6-2, 6-1, to claim third place in the tournament. In doing so, Shoemaker improved on her finish from last year, when she and Worley finished seventh. With their strong performance in Alabama, the pair wrapped up a standout fall season. “Their experience playing the best doubles teams from around the country is going to be invaluable to them, but also to our entire team as we continue to make doubles play a primary focus,” Swain said.

Williams also suffered a tightly-contested 6-3 loss to Amherst in its final dual meet of the fall season on Oct. 6, putting the Ephs 1-1 in dual meet play. Swain brushed off the loss, calling it “disappointing” but observing that “the match came down to a few key points, and my hope is that we become a more motivated and disciplined team from this loss.”

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