Women's Tennis | Jumbos make deep runs at ITAs as Katz reaches round of 16
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 07:10
A week after 5-4 and 9-0 wins over MIT and Brandeis, respectively, the women’s tennis team traveled to MIT to play in the USTA/ITA New England Regional Championships, brimming with confidence.
The Jumbos started off the tournament Friday morning and brought their strong team chemistry with them, something that they carried throughout the day until they left the courts late that night.
“Friday was a really long day.
The first match went on at 8:15 a.m. and we were the last people there playing until 11 p.m.,” senior co-captain Lindsay Katz said. “Regardless of how people had done or when they finished, nobody chose to leave, but instead everyone chose to stay to cheer and support at every match.”
Unlike at team matches, staying until everyone finishes playing is not required at individual tournaments, where focus is a necessity due to the high level of competition.
“We were able to play some of the strongest players in the region, and I think everyone stepped up to the plate,” senior co-captain Janice Lam said.
This included Katz, who came in ranked among the top players in the tournament and played some brilliant tennis to make it to the round of 16.
Katz faced fellow Tufts player Lam in the first round, grinding out a 6-3 6-2 victory before sweeping Bates’ Jacqui Holmes 6-1 6-0 in the second round. Katz bowed out in the third round, though, as she could not keep her momentum going against the fifth seed, Jordan Brewer of Amherst.
Despite entering the tournament unseeded, senior Lauren Hollender denied seventh seed Elena Mandzhukova an entry into the second round with a 6-4 6-1 first round victory. In her second match, Hollender faced eventual semifinalist Rebecca Curran from Williams. While the match was initially very close, Curran pulled away to win 7-5 6-1.
Junior Samantha Gann also put together an impressive tournament, winning her first two matches before falling to a higher seeded opponent in the round of 16.
“Overall, I think the weekend went well,” Katz said. “Our No. 2 doubles team had two really great wins, [Hollender] and [Gann] both had wins over seeded players in singles, while [Gann] and I both advanced to the round of 16 before falling to higher seeded players. Having two out of the 16 players in the round of 16 be from Tufts is a strong showing for us.”
In the doubles portion of the tournament, however, the Jumbos did not see as much success. Both Tufts duos were bested by pairs from Middlebury, as Hollender and Lam fell in the first round to the fifth seed, while Bowman and Katz lost in the second round.
Although they came into doubles play unseeded, the Gann and Schonfeld pair made some noise at the tournament, after upsetting the second seeded team from Bowdoin in a grueling 9-7 showdown. Another close match ensued, as the Jumbos eked out a tight win against Williams, 9-8, to sneak into the round of 16 before falling to the fifth seeded pair from Trinity.
In spite of the team’s strong play in the ITA Championships, Gann, who was named to the all-conference second team as a sophomore in the 2012 NESCAC spring season, acknowledged there is room for the team to improve.
“We know what to work on in these couple of weeks,” Gann said. “I have no doubt that each one of us will step on the court ready to gain as much as possible from every minute on the court.”
Next up for the Jumbos is the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament hosted by Amherst, Smith and Mount Holyoke in mid-October.
“While the weekend overall went well, I feel like we have a lot we want to work on in order to take it to the next level,” Katz said. “The good thing is, it’s only September so we have a lot of time to make the improvements that we know we need to make. I think we all have something to take away from the weekend, both in terms of confidence and what to work on.”