It’s been a difficult start for the women’s tennis team after it opened its spring dual-match season with a 9-0 loss at home to second-ranked Amherst College on Saturday, March 9.  The Cards also hosted third-ranked Williams College on Sunday, March 10, falling to the Purple Cows by a score of 7-2.

However, the matches were much closer than the final scores indicate. Newcomer Clare DuBrin ’16, who recently transferred from Carnegie Mellon University, managed to take four games off of Amherst’s #1 seed while team captain Genevieve Aniello ’13 grabbed five games in the #2-seed match. Freshman Jessica Seidman won six games against her #4 opponent—losing 6-3, 6-3—and Nicki Softness ’14 took four games.

The closest match against Amherst was between the #1 doubles seeds, as DuBrin and Aniello paired up to take on the top Lord Jeffs duo. DuBrin and Aniello fought hard before eventually losing in a tiebreak with a final score of 9-8.

Aniello performed very well against Williams and became the first Cardinal to win both her doubles and singles match against Williams in 14 years. She began by teaming up with DuBrin and winning 8-2 in doubles, although the Ephs were resting their usual #1 pairing. She went on to win in singles in the last match of the day, rallying from behind to win 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

The Cardinals then went south to play four matches over break in Orlando, Fla. The first two matches were against Division I teams Radford University on March 12 and Creighton University on March 13.  They played fellow Division III team Haverford College on March 14 and ASA College on March 15.  The Cardinals fell to Radford 7-0, although Seidman managed to take eight games off of her #3 opponent, losing 6-4, 6-4, while Lauren Jacobs ’15 and Softness nearly took sets in their matches. Unfortunately, the next day was no better against Creighton. Seidman played well again, managing to win her second set 6-2 before losing in a super-tiebreak 8-10. Aniello partnered with Grace Smith ’14 and managed to get seven games before losing 9-7 in the #2 doubles match.

Wesleyan gained its first overall win of the year against Haverford in a 7-2 win, with Jacobs, Kiley Robbins ’14, and Softness all taking both their doubles and singles matches. There was no chance to build a streak, though, as the Cardinals then lost 7-2 in their final match against ASA College with the two victories coming from Smith at the #1 singles and the #3 doubles pairing of Robbins and Softness.

Although the Cardinals only picked up one win from their first six matches, there are reasons to be hopeful. New arrivals Seidman and Dubrin have both played well in their first matches as Cardinals, while team captain Aniello has also performed well from the onset. With those early accomplishments, there’s plenty of reason to believe Wesleyan can turn it around.

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