Ephs aim for seventh consecutive national title

Kathleen Elkins ’14 played at the No. 2 singles for the Ephs posting a 21-0 record in 2013.
Kathleen Elkins ’14 played at the No. 2 singles for the Ephs posting a 21-0 record in 2013.

After winning its sixth consecutive NCAA Div. III Championship and finishing the fall season with a 4-0 record, women’s tennis (4-0, 1-0 in the NESCAC), No. 2 in the nation behind No. 1 Amherst, is looking forward to a successful spring season. Having graduated Nancy Worley ’13 and Veranika Li ’13, the team will look to its returning players to fill their spots. Worley and Li are both four-time national champions. Worley, who played singles at No. 4, is the second female tennis player to win over 30 matches in a single year and finished the year ranked 46th in the country. Li played No. 3 doubles with Worley and the team compiled a 19-7 record last year.

This season, the team will be led by returning star players, co-captain Kathleen Elkins ’14 and co-captain Kara Shoemaker ’14. Last season, Elkins played at No. 2 singles and posted an undefeated record of 21-0 in regular season play. Currently ranked 18th in the nation, she captured an All-American title, as well as a First Team All-NESCAC title for singles and a First Team All-NESCAC spot in doubles with partner Maria Pylypiv ’15. Shoemaker finished the season ranked fifth nationally in singles and doubles, taking All-American and First Team All-NESCAC honors in both.

Rebecca Curran ’15 is the third returning All-American from last season. Curran received this honor, as well as First Team All-NESCAC, for her spectacular doubles play with Shoemaker finishing the season ranked fifth nationally. Curran also had success in singles and is ranked 45th in the country after last year. Pylypiv is returning from a successful 2013 season in which she was named to the First Team All-NESCAC for her doubles play with Elkins. After missing the fall season while studying abroad in France, Monica Pastor ’15 is looking to rejoin the team and contribute to its success the way she did last year, when she posted a 13-3 record in singles. Two sophomores round out the returning players for the Ephs. Maya Hart ’16 posted a singles record of 5-2 and a 10-2 record in doubles tournament play. Alex Stone ’16 played singles at No. 6 and ended the season with an 11-1 record.

Three rookies, Annika Trapness ’17, Hannah Atkinson ’17 and Linda Shin ’17, are looking to make an impact on the team this spring season. In the Lindsay Morehouse Invitational and NEWITT tournament this fall, Trapness had a singles record of 3-2 and a doubles record of 2-5. Atkinson had an impressive fall season, posting 8-1 records in both singles and doubles, and was ranked 15th in singles and sixth in doubles. Shin posted a 13-2 singles record, advancing to quarterfinals of the ITA New England Regional Tournament, finishing the fall season ranked sixth in singles.

“Everyone has worked so hard during the off-season and we have done a good job of carrying that momentum and excitement into the first week of the season,” Elkins said. “We are really looking forward to competing again in our first match.”

After falling just short of victory at NEWITTs this fall, losing to NESCAC rival Amherst, the team is eager to redeem itself and acquire a seventh national title. The women begin their spring season with a match against Skidmore at 1 p.m. on Sunday.