Women's Tennis | Consistency, camaraderie give Jumbos second win of the season
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 08:09
After a long summer of reflection, and a few weeks of preparation back on the hill, the women’s tennis team hit the courts for the first time since its third−round loss to Williams in the NCAA Championship that marked an end to last year’s season. But the Jumbos, ranked No. 15 at the end of last season, managed to put last season’s disappointing ending behind them, and kicked off the 2012 fall season this past week with a pair of home wins against MIT and Brandeis.
The victory against MIT in the season opener allowed the team to shed any rust and prepare itself for the Brandeis match two days later, in which the Jumbos swept the Owls 9−0.
“We were able to get rid of any nerves that you can sometimes have at the beginning of the season,” senior co−captain Lindsay Katz said. “So by the time we played Brandeis those were sort of worked through.”
Saturday’s match against Brandeis was delayed by rain for two hours at the start. But once the courts were dry enough to play, it did not take long for the Jumbos to hit their stride. Junior Samantha Gann and sophomore Sophie Schonfeld got the ball rolling in doubles, winning the first match of the day 8−1. Soon after, the senior duo of co−captain Janice Lam and Lauren Hollender won 8−3, followed up by an 8−5 victory by Katz and junior Shelci Bowman.
“I was so impressed by everyone’s attitude and effort,” Bowman said. “After waiting about three hours for play to begin, everyone was so pumped up from the moment we started warming up, and that positive energy really kept everyone playing their hardest.”
The Jumbos were able to keep their strong lead going into singles play. Only needing two more wins to clinch the match, Hollender stepped up and won 6−2, 6−1 at the number five singles position. Soon after, Bowman won 6−0, 6−2, securing a straight set win, an untouchable 5−0 overall in match play, and the Jumbos’ second win of the season.
Tufts’ record in the three tiebreakers it played was impeccable, as the Jumbos not only won all three, but also held the Brandeis players to fewer than five points in each.
“I think the team did an amazing job at our match against Brandeis,” Lam said. “I was amazed at how focused everyone was, and the fact that we won 9−0 against a competitive team like Brandeis. We were able to win all of our third−set tiebreakers, which showed how tough our team is.”
Earlier in the week against MIT, though, victory did not come as easily, as the Jumbos were forced to grind out a tight 5−4 victory against the Engineers in the first match of the season.
Tufts, which has won its past three matches with MIT by a combined score of 23−4, got all it could handle from the Engineers, who at one point had the match tied at 2−2 until the Jumbos rattled off three straight wins to go up 5−2 and clinch their first win of the season.
While the Jumbos took two of the three doubles matches, the Engineers equalized the score thanks to sophomore Lauren Quisenberry’s win over Katz. However, Hollender, Schonfeld and Lam won all three of their singles’ matches to put the Engineers away, showing the resiliency that will be necessary if the team wants to go far this season.
“Our team dynamic is responsible for our wins against MIT and Brandeis,” Bowman said.
The team will look to ride its growing confidence and chemistry to victory as it gears up for the ITA Regional Championship held at MIT this weekend.