Women’s tennis cruises to quarterfinals, look to defend title

Maria Pylypiv ’15 did not allow her opponents to win a game in doubles play, defeating them by a combined 16-0 last weekend.
Maria Pylypiv ’15 did not allow her opponents to win a game in doubles play, defeating them by a combined 16-0 last weekend.

Last weekend, women’s tennis (21-2, 7-1 in the NESCAC) competed in the second and third rounds of the NCAA Div. III Tournament. The women were successful in both of their matches, defeating Ithaca on Saturday and conference foe Tufts the next day to move on to the quarterfinals.

On Saturday, the women, who were hosting this round of the tournament, competed in their first match and defeated Ithaca 5-0. The Ephs made quick work of their opponents, playing for only 90 minutes. Since they came out with five decisive wins over their opponents, the women left four singles matches unfinished because they were guaranteed a win after their early victories at the beginning of their matches. In doubles, the Bombers only won one game of 29 played. The pair of Linda Shin ’17 and Hannah Atkinson ’17 and the team of Maria Pylypiv ’15 and co-captain Kathleen Elkins ’14 both won their matches 8-0. Rebecca Curran ’15 and co-captain Kara Shoemaker ’14 won their match 8-1. The Ephs also shut out their opponents in the two singles matches that were played to completion. Monica Pastor ’15 won her match 6-0, 6-0, and Curran also bageled her Bombers opponent.

On Sunday, the women pulled off another decisive win over a NESCAC opponent, beating Tufts 6-0. Both captains had strong singles matches. Shoemaker won her match 6-2, 6-1, and Elkins defeated her opponent 6-1, 6-1. In the final singles match played to its end, Pylypiv beat Shelci Bowman 6-1, 6-1. Pylypiv and Elkins also had strong doubles play, winning their match 8-0. Shoemaker and Curran defeated their opponents 8-1, and Shin and Atkinson won 8-3.

“Tufts played with heart and determination, especially towards the end, and really made us win it, so that was a good test for our team,” Elkins said. “We’ll be working hard this week to continue improving and to be prepared for a tough match against Bowdoin.”

These victories earned the women a spot in the Elite Eight in the NCAA Div. III tournament in Claremont, Calif., where they will play Bowdoin this Monday. Earlier this month, the Ephs defeated the Polar Bears by a score of 5-3. The women will continue their journey to a seventh-straight NCAA Div. III National Championship.

This season, the women have garnered several NESCAC honors. Shoemaker received the NESCAC Player of the Year Award, the first woman to receive it under the seven-year tenure of Head Coach Alison Swain ’01. She owns a 26-5 record at the No. 1 singles position for the Ephs. Shoemaker was also named to First Team Singles and First Team Doubles with teammate Curran. Jointly, they have a 30-8 record at the No. 1 doubles position. Elkins received First Team Singles recognition after collecting a 23-8 record at the No. 2 singles position this year. In addition, Pylypiv received Second Team recognition for doubles, while Shin received Second Team recognition for her play in singles.

On Monday, three Ephs were selected to play in the NCAA Div. III Individual Championships, a seperate tournament from the team championships. Shoemaker will participate in the singles tournament, as well as the doubles with partner Curran. The duo of Shoemaker and Curran has compiled a record of 57-16 in the last two years. Elkins will make her first appearance in the singles tournament.

At the end of their season, the women will graduate just two seniors, Elkins and Shoemaker.