Gann’s strong singles showing highlights ITA weekend
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 03:10
Tufts women’s tennis captain Samantha Gann finished in the top 16 at the ITA Regional Championships at Williams College over the weekend, ultimately falling 6-1, 6-1 against No. 3 seed Kara Shoemaker of Williams in a rematch of last year’s second round match.
Gann, a senior who began the tournament seeded No. 15, cruised through the first two rounds with relative ease, beating Colby’s Victoria Abel 6-3, 6-4 and Brandeis’ Roberta Bergstein 6-3, 6-4, before her loss to Shoemaker in the third round. Shoemaker was part of the duo that took home the doubles title at last year’s ITA Regional Championships.
Gann and classmate Shelci Bowman started the tournament seeded No. 8 in the doubles draw, winning their first round match against Elizabeth Erbafina and Elena Madzhukova of Bates, 8-6. They eventually lost in the second round in a closely contested match against Michelle Dutt and Krystal Lai of MIT, 8-6.
The other doubles duo of junior Sophie Schonfeld — who was Gann’s partner last year — and first-year Conner Calabro finished in the top eight among 32 doubles pairs. After cruising past Anna Dyakiv and Lindsay Benoit of Nichols, 8-2, in the first round, the pair won a nail-biter against Bowdoin’s Samantha Stalder and Tiffany Cheng, 9-8 (7-4) to set up a contest against No. 1-seeded Gabby Devlin and Jordan Brewer of Amherst — last year’s NCAA Div. III Doubles Champions. Brewer was also seeded first in the singles draw.
Although Schonfeld and Calabro lost to the No. 1 seed 8-0, Calabro was happy with the progress they made in the tournament.
“I think we did really well, considering that it was only our second time in a competitive situation playing together,” Calabro said.
A key to the Jumbos’ success this year will be the influence of returning players, especially on a team in which six of the 11 players are freshmen. Schonfeld, the more experienced player of the two, offered some stability for Calabro during the match.
“[Schonfeld] always stays really calm and cool and collected,” Calabro said. “She keeps us both very level-headed and keeps me from getting too tight or nervous.”
Schonfeld, Bowman and freshman Alexa Meltzer were also entered in the singles draw, with Schonfeld and Bowman using their experience at the 2012 ITA Regionals to their advantage. Schonfeld’s decisive 6-1, 6-2 win over Mount Holyoke’s Ann Elizabeth Konkel was an improvement over last year’s first round departure and led to a matchup with sixth-seeded Kathleen Elkins of Williams, who beat Schonfeld 6-1, 6-2.
Bowman fell to Chrissy Martel of Endicott, 6-4, 4-6, (10-8), while Meltzer avenged a loss earlier in the season to Babson’s Alex Freeman, beating her 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 in the first round before her loss to Hannah Atkinson of Williams, 6-1, 7-5 in the second.
As the fall season winds down in the coming weeks, the younger players look to build on the valuable experience they have gained so far.
“The ITA tournament was a great way of introducing our younger players to the competition in the region, and it gave us all an opportunity to get a lot of match play in a few days,” Gann told the Daily in an email. “I think the team came away with a more defined idea of what we need to focus on in the coming days to best prepare for next week’s matches.”
The Jumbos play a pair of away matches against MIT and Brandeis on Oct. 8 and 11, respectively, before concluding the fall season at the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament (NEWITT) from Oct. 18 to 20.