Two NESCAC wins propel women’s tennis to 18-0

With two victories over Bowdoin and Bates, women’s tennis (18-0, 7-0 in the NESCAC) concluded an undefeated regular season last Sunday. This is the first perfect regular season for Williams under Head Coach Alison Swain ’01. Sunday’s victory puts Swain’s career record at 175-20 (.897). In Sunday’s match against Bates, the women played at home at the Torrence M. Hunt Tennis Center underneath cloudy skies. However, despite the dreary weather, the women swept their opponents in both doubles and singles. In doubles, Juli Raventos ’18 and Linda Shin ’17 topped Bates’ Elizabeth Erbifina and Elena Mandzhukova, 8-4. The Ephs’ pairing of Maya Hart ’16 and tri-captain Rebecca Curran ’15 followed with an 8-1 victory over the Bobcats’ Silverman and Pearson. Mia Gancayco ’18 and Hannah Atkinson ’17 concluded doubles playing, maintaining success with an 8-1 win and taking Williams into singles up 3-0. Tri-captain Maria Pylypiv ’15 led Williams in singles, downing her Bates opponent in two sets at 6-1, 6-0. Raventos followed, facing Erbafina and coming out on top 6-1, 6-1. Gancayco, Atkinson and Julia Cancio ’18 each earned victories as well.

Tri-captain Monica Pastor ’15 finished the day for the Ephs, topping the Bobcats’ Emma Blakely 6-0, 6-0 and maintaining the team’s perfection. On Saturday, Williams defeated a competitive Bowdoin squad. The Ephs competed in one of their closest matches of the season. The women ultimately came out with a 5-4 victory. This close contest was the first 5-4 match the women have competed in since they defeated Amherst last fall. In doubles play, Pylypiv and Cancio took the Ephs to an early lead, winning their match 8-5. Tess Trinka and Joulia Lankhansaia rebounded for Bowdoin, overcoming Shin and Raventos, 8-6. Bowdoin’s pairing of Geffineg and Chow finished on top in doubles 9-8 (5) over Curran and Hart. The teams advanced to singles with the Polar Bears holding a 2-1 advantage. The Ephs found their stride in singles. Pylypiv and Raventos both came out successful against their opponents. Pylypiv took on her Bowdoin opponent Tiffany Cheng easily, defeating her 6-2, 6-2, while Raventos had to put up a heartier fight against Joulia Likhanskaia. Losing the first set 3-6, Raventos rallied back to take the next two sets, 6-3, 6-2. Curran and Gancayco both topped their Bowdoin opponents, sealing the victory for the Ephs at 5-4 and protecting Williams’ undefeated record heading into postseason competition.

“Being undefeated in the regular season was never actually a goal of our team’s,” Swain said. “However, it’s a major accomplishment and one that is the outcome of all our smaller goals. This team is increidbly driven, hard-working and close-knit. Those qualities have been at the heart of our season and have helped us to compete at our best in each match we have played thus far. We will continue to stay focused, positive and motivated in practices as we head into the NESCAC tournament. Everything from here on out is single elimination, so right now, we have our sights set on our Saturday semifinal match and we aren’t looking further ahead than that.” Up next for the women is the NESCAC Championships, which will kick off on Friday. The championships will be hosted over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Middlebury. Seeds for the championship bouts were not released in time to be reported in this issue.