Women’s tennis trounces Amherst 8–1 in dual match

Women’s tennis (1–0, 1–0 in the NESCAC) visited archrival Amherst for its lone dual match of the fall season, prevailing 8–1. Although trailing in the all-time head-to-head competition with the Purple and White, the Ephs have gotten the better of Amherst in each of the past six meetings, including the last two at Amherst.

Due to construction on Amherst’s tennis courts, Saturday’s competition was held off-campus at the nearby UMass Amherst’s tennis facility.

The Ephs got off to a perfect start in doubles, sweeping all three courts to give themselves a three-point advantage. This lead was crucial heading into the always-competitive singles portion of the duel. The doubles pairings of Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio ’18 with Mia Gancayco ’18 and Juli Raventos ’18 with co-captain Linda Shin ’17, at three- and one-doubles respectively, each rushed out to early leads that they rode all the way to 8–2 victories against their Amherst counterparts.

The affair on court two, however, took much longer to decide.

Co-captain Hannah Atkinson ’17 and Chloe Henderson ’20 exchanged games with their Amherst rivals, Vickie Ip and Anya Ivenitsky, but eventually grabbed a break to lead 6–4.

Requiring only two service holds to see out their win, the Eph duo couldn’t finish off the victory immediately, as the Amherst tandem fought and broke back strong to force an 8-all tiebreaker. The Ephs recovered well from their setback, however, taking the tiebreaker by a narrow two-point margin, 7–5, to sweep the board of doubles matches.

The Ephs built quickly on their doubles advantage and quickly put the match away in the singles competition. Gancayco, at the number six position, was first off the court against Jen Chen after racing out to a 6–0 first set score line that she nearly repeated in the second with a 6–1 score line that won the Ephs their fourth point of the afternoon.

McDonnell clinched the match for the Ephs shortly thereafter with a win on court three, as she also cruised to a comfortable first set, 6–2, before repeating the same score line in the second set to see off Avery Wagman.

Even with the victory secured, Williams was not done yet, as it attempted the clean sweep of the singles matches.

Shin kept the hope of the 9–0 win alive at two-singles, as she battled through a tough 6–4 first set before breezing past Camille Smukler 6–0 in the second.

The remaining three matches on the court all went to decisive third-set match tiebreakers, in lieu of a full third set since the match had already been decided.

Atkinson was next off the courts, fighting back to force a third-set tiebreaker after she dropped her first set, 6–4. She drew level in the second, 6–3, and then in the tiebreaker, the senior rushed out to an early advantage that she held tightly all the way to the finish line, 10–5.

Leah Bush ’19 was next at four-singles. Jackie Calla took the first set 6–4, before Bush reversed the same score line to her own favor in the second set to force the tiebreaker. Buoyed by Atkinson’s performance, Bush nearly copied the scoreline, taking the 10-point tiebreaker, 10–6.

Down to the final match on court one, Amherst managed to eke out a consolation point to prevent the Ephs from sweeping, and conclude the match at 8–1. After coming so close to winning a point during the doubles portion, Ip triumphed in her singles match against Raventos, even though she lost a tight first set, 7–5.

Undeterred by the first set outcome, Ip fought back in the second, taking it 6–2 and then went on to just best Raventos in the tiebreaker, 10–8.

The Ephs return to action Friday at the Middlebury Invitational for their final competition of the fall season.

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