Women’s Tennis | Jumbos suffer 8-1 defeat at MIT
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 02:10
Freshman Conner Calabro captured the Tufts women’s tennis team’s only victory against MIT this Tuesday, with the Jumbos falling 8-1 to the Engineers. It was the team’s first loss of the season, as the only other event of the season that was scored in team format was Tufts’ 7-2 win over Babson on Sept. 18. The Jumbos were beaten out in every matchup except the No. 3 singles, in which Calabro easily defeated Krystal Lai of MIT 6-1, 6-1.
Calabro’s play went a long way in impressing her coach.
“I was extremely impressed with Conner’s singles match yesterday,” head coach Kate Bayard said in an email to the Daily. “She played the perfect combination of consistency and aggression.”
Calabro’s convincing singles win is all the more impressive in light of the dramatic end to her doubles match earlier in the day. After Calabro’s doubles partner, senior Sophie Schonfeld, was hit in the head with a ball, Schonfeld retired from their match while down 7-4 against Victoria Tam and Elysa Kohrs of MIT. The decision came with the trainer’s advising about the possibility of a concussion.
“After the doubles, I went in with a must-win mentality,” Calabro said.
The injury to Schonfeld meant alterations to the singles lineup, with each player moving up in a spot, and sophomore Catherine Worley stepping in at No. 6 singles. She lost to Julia Hsu of MIT 6-1, 6-0. First years Jacqueline Baum and Chelsea Hayashi played No. 4 and No. 5 singles respectively, both losing closely contested three-set matches.
“It really could have gone either way; we lost matches by only a couple of points,” Baum said of her loss to Wendi Kong 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Hayashi played MIT’s Vynnie Kong in the longest match of the day, eventually succumbing to her opponent 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 10-6. Senior captain Samantha Gann won her first set in No. 1 singles but lost in the third set tiebreak to freshman Elysa Kohrs 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-2). Unlike the first doubles pairing of Gann and senior Shelci Bowman, who lost to Lauren Quinsenberry and Julia Hsu 8-3, and the second doubles pairing of Calabro and Schonfeld, both of which had played together in last week’s ITA Invitational at Williams, Worley and freshman Alexa Meltzer were the only doubles pair not to have played together in a competitive setting. They fell in the No. 3 doubles match to MIT’s Krystal Lai and Michelle Dutt 8-3. Meltzer also played at No. 2 singles, losing to Victoria Tam 6-1, 6-3.
One of the key focuses for the team moving forward will be the emphasis on doubles.
“The match against MIT highlights the importance of doubles,” Bayard said. “Although it’s possible to win a match after being down 3-0 after doubles, it puts a lot of pressure on the singles matches. [The team] will focus on doubles for the remainder of the season. We need to cut down on unforced errors and put more pressure on at net. We also need to capitalize on those opportunities when we create them.”
Coach Bayard also spoke in regard to future double pairings and how the team will be shaped in its next competitions.
“The communication and dynamics [between Calabro/Schonfeld and Gann/Bowman] are great,” she said. “However, we have a bunch of options on this team since so many people work really well together. So we are likely going to mix up some pairs moving forward.”
Another key issue for the Jumbos will be building confidence as a team.
“I think a really important thing is being confident in yourself, playing an opponent who really believes that they’re going to win is a really big difference. I want to work on being that player, being someone that believes that they can win,” Hayashi said.
Other members of the team echoed this sentiment.
“Our team needs to believe that we can win every match and just work on everyone’s confidence,” Calabro said.
Despite the loss, Tufts will be looking to build on this experience as it recognizes the valuable takeaway from this loss.
“I certainly had a lot of confidence in the team before the match, but sometimes the team has to actually experience a loss like this in order to become more match-ready in the future,” Bayard said. “The key will be for the team to continue to gain confidence and get tougher every time we step onto the court so that we’re peaking in the spring.”
The Jumbos resume their fall season at 3 p.m. this Friday at Brandeis.