Grace Smith ’14, Clare DuBrin ’16, and Olivia Koh ’17 represented the women’s tennis team at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional Tournament at Williams this past weekend. Teams participating in the tournament are allowed a fixed quota of players based on the players’ performances last year. The women’s ITA was a double-elimination event: players who lost their first round matches were allowed to partake in consolation draws. All three athletes competed in the singles tournament, and DuBrin and Koh paired up for the doubles play as well.
Smith, a team captain, sailed through to victory in her first match, scoring 6-2, 6-2 against Amy Heacox of Endicott College. She progressed to the next round but dropped her second match against a sophomore from Trinity, losing 6-0, 6-2. Her opponent, Melita Ferjanic, was seeded fifth overall in the tournament and was regarded as a top player in the NESCAC.
“[Ferjanic] gave away very few unforced errors,” said Cardinals Head Coach Mike Fried.
In her opening singles, DuBrin was unable to attain a win against Dorrie Paradies, a senior from Middlebury, and lost her first match 6-2, 6-2. Fried remarked that DuBrin had not had time to compete over the summer, and he attributed her loss to general rustiness.
DuBrin immediately bounced back in her consolation match, as she beat Brandeis senior Allyson Bernstein 6-1 in the first set. Bernstein then forfeited the match due to injury. DuBrin’s next opponent in the consolation draw was MIT freshman Elysa Kohrs. Though she was defeated 6-1, 6-3, Fried was pleased with Dubrin’s improved play and competitive edge.
Participating as an alternate, Koh was allowed to partake in the consolation draw. However, she was unable to claim victory, losing 6-1, 6-3 against Williams sophomore Alex Stone. Despite her loss, the coach was satisfied with her performance. He remarked that duels against top teams and players provide crucial match experience for young athletes. Williams is currently the top team in the Division III rankings.
Furthermore, Koh suffered from a wrist injury during summer, and her injury had forced her to use one-handed backhands. Having recently recovered, Koh has not had much time to readjust to two-handed backhands.
Also due to injury, Smith could not pair up with DuBrin for her doubles match and Koh took her position. DuBrin and Koh fought a tough match against MIT opponents Michelle Dutt and Krystal Lai. The Cards eventually dropped the match 9-8.
In the doubles consolation draw, DuBrin and Koh cruised to an easy 8-3 victory over Trinity seniors Elizabeth Gerber and Merritt Piro. This victory provides hope for the future, as Wesleyan must battle Trinity again in the Connecticut College Invitational. The duo’s next match was against Amherst seniors Zoe Pangalos and Jennifer Newman. DuBrin and Koh dropped the match, unfortunately, by a score of 8-2.
Wesleyan’s upcoming match is against Trinity and host Conn College in the Connecticut College Invitational on Sunday, Oct. 6. Both Wesleyan and Conn College are unranked in the women’s national ranking, while Trinity is ranked 20th.
Fried is highly eager for these matchups. He aims to break Wesleyan into the national rankings and deems a rank of 30th or even 25th (out of a possible 35) as highly plausible.
“The team is continuing to work very hard,” Fried said. “As we get more matches under our belt we can better gauge exactly where we are competitively.”