Women’s tennis hosts, dominates Lindsay Morehouse Invitational

Rebecca Kuo

Women’s tennis won 17 of the 21 matches in its games against Skidmore and Middlebury at the Lindsay Morehouse Invitational held at the Eph’s Hunt Tennis Courts this weekend.

The invitational is an annual event in honor of Eph and former women’s tennis captain Lindsay Morehouse ’00, who was one of the three Williams alums who passed away in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Morehouse was an All-American, who memorably led the Ephs to the NCAA championship in all four years of her collegiate career. Her memory stands today — a tree was planted during Homecoming of 2001 next to the tennis courts and a small service is held annually in addition to the invitational played each year.

The Morehouse Invitational is played in a round-robin format with three different flights, allowing players more opportunities to participate, as there is no elimination. While no tournament winner was crowned, on Sunday, the College presented the Lindsay Morehouse award to one senior player from each participating team for exemplary sportsmanship, friendliness and character.

The Ephs come into the season with a smaller team than last year after graduating four seniors and gaining only two new first-years.

For day one of the invitational on Friday, Williams faced off against Skidmore in doubles and made a clean sweep of all three matches.

The duo of co-captain Leah Bush ’19 and Chloe Henderson ’20 overcame Risa Fukushige and Dea Koiava 8-1, while co-captain Korina Neveux ’19 and Maxine Ng ’22 defeated Lily Feldman and Audrey Soohoo 8-5. Julia Pham ’22 and Emily Zheng ’20 won against Sofia Carlsson and Jacqueline Ahn 8-6.

“It’s just so fun to compete,” head coach Anik Cepeda said. “It’s what this team loves to do, and it’s what we’re best at. That’s what this tournament does for us; it always gives us excitement for the year ahead and an opportunity to work on new things.” Cepeda is in her second year as head coach and led the team to a third-place finish in last year’s NCAA championship.

On Saturday, the women played nine singles matches as well as three doubles matches against Skidmore and Middlebury.

Bush and Neveux won their morning singles matches, with Zheng picking up a victory as well.  Henderson played a very close match but was defeated by Koiava. Ng and Pham also fell to Skidmore in their matches.

In the afternoon singles against Skidmore, Ng and Henderson bounced back. Ng defeated Jacqueline Ahn 6-1, 6-1 and Henderson defeated Laura Swenson 6-1, 6-1. While, Bush fell to Renee Karchere-Sun in her second singles match of the day.

Williams swept the doubles matches against Middlebury. With their quick backhands and consistent serving, Bush and Henderson defeated Emily Bian and AnnMartin Skelly 8-2. The team of Ng and Neveux also thwarted their opponents, Christina Puccinelli and Emma Gorman 8-2.

The Ephs demonstrated “a lot of effort, hustle and camaraderie,” Cepeda said of the day. “[We’re] looking forward to mixing up the doubles tomorrow and the singles versus Middlebury!”

On day three of the Invitational, Williams played four doubles matches against Skidmore and three singles matches against Middlebury, sweeping across the board.

Neveux and Henderson  swept Skidmore’s Carlsson and Arielle Gal 6-0 in their first doubles match of the day. Ng and Zheng defeated Skidmore 6-2 in their first match on Sunday.

In the second round of doubles, the Ephs switched partners. Neveux and Zheng defeated Skidmore 6-3. Ng and Henderson played a grueling tiebreaker set but eventually won 7-3.

In singles matchups, Williams came away three for three, with Neveux, Henderson and Ng all foiling their Middlebury opponents.

Overall, the Ephs won 17 of their 21 matches against Skidmore and Middlebury over the weekend. It was a dominant showing to begin the year.

On Sunday afternoon, the Lindsay Morehouse Awards were handed out to Skidmore’s Swenson, Middlebury’s Puccinelli and Williams’ Bush.

“Leah is a leader in giving 100 percent of what she has to offer,” Cepeda said. “I’m excited for her year! Our first tournament [is] under our belts. Competition gives us feedback on where we’re at and where we need to go. We’re looking forward to two more weeks of work!”

The women will play next at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association from Sept. 28 to 30 at Middlebury.