This past weekend, the No. 8 women’s tennis team competed in the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) Regional Championships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. Wes walked into the tournament with two titles to defend in both the doubles and singles brackets. Stacked with a number of talented and familiar opponents from the NESCAC conference, this year’s tournament was no easy feat.
Eudice Chong ’18 entered as the No. 1 seed in the singles bracket and swept past her first opponent, Julia Brogan of Trinity, with a decisive 6-0, 6-0 win. In the second round, Chong defeated Sarah Shadowens of Bowdoin, 6-3, 6-4. The next day, Chong continued to battle through her bracket, besting Camille Smukler of Amherst 6-4, 6-1 and crushing Lara Rakocevic of MIT 6-0, 6-0.
Chong met her teammate and doubles partner Victoria Yu ’19 in the semifinals for a rematch of last year’s final. Yu fell to Chong 1-6, 1-6, sending Chong to finals once again. The finals turned out to be a skirmish to remember between Little Three rivals, with Chong matching up against No. 2 seed Juli Raventos of Williams, the only player to whom Chong has fallen in her collegiate career. Chong dropped the first set 3-6, but dug deep to steal the second set back 6-3. Unfortunately, Raventos pulled through with the title, winning the third and final set 6-4.
Joining Chong in the singles bracket were fellow teammates Yu, Helen Klass-Warch ’18, Nicole McCann ’18, and Julia Kim ’20. No. 6 seed Yu defeated Isabelle Garvanne of Wheaton 6-1, 6-4 and then Ayame Yazawa of Mount Holyoke 6-0, 6-0 on the first day of competition. Yu continued to bulldoze through her bracket on the second day, beating No. 9 seed Mia Gancayco of Williams 6-3, 6-0, as well as Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio of Williams in a tight three-setter by a score of 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Yu reached the semis for day three of competition where she faced her doubles partner Chong, losing 1-6, 1-6.
McCann outplayed Ching-Ching Huang of Mount Holyoke, winning 6-2, 6-1. She then met No. 8 seed Vickie Ip of Amherst in the second round. Despite mustering a comeback in the second set, McCann came up just short, falling 2-6, 5-7. In her Wes tennis debut, Kim came out swinging against Shadowens of Bowdoin. Kim took her to a tiebreak in the first set but came up short by two points, and eventually lost 6-7 (5), 2-6. Klass-Warch was defeated in the first round by Carina Chen of Wellesley 3-6, 2-6.
However, Wes wasn’t ready to walk away from ITAs without a title. No. 2 seed Chong and Yu cruised in first-round doubles match against Danielle Mandel and Amarie Settiwongse of Nichols, posting a final score of 8-1. The pair then breezed past Bates opponents Elizabeth Erbafina and Bella Stone with a 8-2 win. In the third round match, Chong and Yu matched up against the No. 5 seed from Williams, McDonnell Nieto del Rio and Sydney Myong. The match concluded with yet another decisive win by Wesleyan’s dynamic duo, 8-3. Mirroring their third round score, Chong and Yu beat Jackie Calla and Avery Wagman of Amherst 8-3 in the semifinals. The finals ended up being a classic matchup between No. 1 seed and No. 2 seeds, and yet another clash between Little Three rivals. Chong and Yu dug deep against Raventos and Linda Shin to defend their doubles titles with an 8-6 win. Chong and Yu have gone undefeated in doubles at ITAs, posting a whopping 10-0 record. They both were rewarded with All-American doubles honors for the second season in a row.
Chong and Yu were joined by Kim and Klass-Warch in the doubles bracket. Kim and Klass-Warch faced off against Williams in the first round and fell to Hannah Atkinson and Chloe Henderson 8-4. Despite the loss, Klass-Warch had her eyes set on the spring season.
“It was a really successful weekend overall,” Klass-Warch said. “Everyone has been working harder than we ever have in the weeks leading up to this weekend and really made the most of all of the match opportunities we had. It was nice to get a feel for the competition this season and coming up in the spring, and I think it really inspired us to keep on improving and working even harder in preparation for our main season. We also all ate shawarma or falafel for lunch for all three days so that was another big highlight.”
Captain Ella Lindholm-Uzzi ’17 echoed Klass-Warch’s positivity.
“Eudice’s final was really inspiring to watch and she fought to the very end,” Lindholm-Uzzi said. “Even though she lost, it was an incredible match because she never gave up and that’s all you can ask for in a player and teammate. Julia had a great opening tournament to start off her season and had a wonderful attitude the entire weekend. The days were really exhausting and long, but it was a great tournament and a really awesome showing for the whole team!”
The Cards will be back on the practice grind until Chong and Yu travel down to Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter, S.C. for the ITA National Small College Championships. Matchplay lasts from Oct. 13 to 16, making it a long and testing four-day tournament. Chong and Yu hope to walk away with an ITA national doubles title to match their trophy from last year.