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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Tufts sweeps Maine trip, starts NESCAC undefeated

Sophomore Jacqueline Baum led the Jumbos to three straight victories over the past week.

The women’s tennis team began its east coast spring season with a home match against unranked Brandeis on March 27. It then started its NESCAC schedule, which spans the month of April. The Jumbos made the Maine road trip for the first time this season, traveling to Colby on Friday and Bates on Saturday. Tufts emerged victorious against every school, dropping only four individual matches over the three-match stretch.

On Saturday, Tufts defeated Bates by a final score of 8-1 in a match that was played indoors due to inclement weather. After doubles play, the Jumbos held a 2-1 lead. The only win for the Bobcats came at the number one doubles position, where senior Elena Mandzhukova and sophomore Elizabeth Erbafina defeated Tufts sophomores Jacqueline Baum and Conner Calabro, 8-4. Tufts swept the rest of the matches, however, as sophomores Alexa Meltzer and Chelsea Hayashi won 8-3 at No. 2 doubles and first-year Zoe Miller and sophomore Hannah Conroy cruised to an 8-2 win in the third position.

In singles play, it was first-year Lauren Louks who recorded the first win for the Jumbos at the No. 3 singles position, 6-1, 6-4. Calabro walked off the court next with a 6-3, 6-2 win at the No. 2 singles position. Meltzer had a bit of a tougher time at No. 1 singles, but nevertheless won in two sets, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0. Baum won her match in three sets in the No. 4 position, and Hayashi and Miller each won in straight sets in the number five and six positions, respectively.

Energy and focus seem to have contributed to the Jumbos' success early on in conference play. The win over Bates moved Tufts to 2-0 in NESCAC play.

“We've been focusing on improving our energy as a team, and this weekend we did all the right things in terms of coming out strong/excited for every match,” Miller said.

On Friday, Tufts took on Colby in its first NESCAC match of the season. Because snow was still on the outdoor courts, the Jumbos played indoors, but this did not stop them from securing an 8-1 win. The Tufts doubles teams -- the same pairs from the Bates match -- all won their matches for a clean sweep of the doubles. Calabro and Baum won 8-6, Meltzer and Hayashi won 8-2 and Miller and Conroy won 8-1.

“Chelsea and I have great chemistry on court,” Meltzer said. “I think we do so well together because we feed off of each other's high energy and aggressive mentality.”

In singles play, Tufts won five out of the six matches. Meltzer played her first match of the season in the No. 1 singles position and won handily, 6-1, 6-3 over senior Erica Talamo. Calabro moved one spot to No. 2 singles and defeated Holly Bogo, 6-1, 6-2.At No. 3 singles, first-year Maddie Lupone beat Hayashi, 6-4, 6-1, for the only Mules win on the afternoon. Baum, Miller and Conroy played at the four, five and six singles positions, respectively, and each won in straight sets.

“I specifically was working on maintaining my offensive game and coming [to] the net when I saw the opportunity,” Miller said. “I kept that aggressive mentality throughout my matches.”

The two-match win streak to begin the NESCAC season is crucial for the Jumbos, considering how strong this league is. Six of the conference's 11 teams are ranked in the top 25 in the nation, including Tufts at No. 19.

“This was definitely a great confidence booster for us; we can really see the progress we've made even since spring break,” Miller said. “Match experience is the best kind of practice, and I'm excited to see where we go from here!”

Right after spring break, the Jumbos played the Brandeis Judges in a nonconference home match. The match had to be played indoors due to the remaining snow on the courts. The Jumbos won two out of three doubles matches and then five out of six singles matches on their way to a 7-2 win. Brandeis was able to win in the No. 1 singles and doubles positions.

Tufts sits at 6-3 (2-0 NESCAC) and is riding a three-match winning streak as it takes on No. 17 Wesleyan at home on Wednesday before traveling to Trinity on Saturday.

“These two wins this weekend were huge for us as we continue into NESCAC play this week against Wesleyan and Trinity,” Meltzer said. “I think with more competition the team is gaining more and more confidence, resulting in stronger performances.”