P-P Tennis Wins SCIAC Championship, Eyes Nationals

With a 6-3 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps this past Saturday, the Pomona-Pitzer women’s tennis team secured the SCIAC tournament trophy and clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The team started the weekend with a 7-0 win over La Verne. The Sagehens coasted through this matchup, much as they did in their regular season win over the Leopards. In seven matches, the team only lost 11 games, compared to its 72 games won. Sammy Chao PO ’14 wasn’t in the singles lineup for this first match as Coach Ann Lebedeff moved Jess Hsu PO ’13 into the #5 spot and rotated Ellie Shanholt PO ’12 into the lineup at #6.

Later that afternoon, the team matched up against Redlands in the SCIAC semifinals. Nationally ranked at #24, Redlands proved to be no great challenge for the Hens, who left Pasadena that afternoon with an 8-1 victory and their eyes set on the SCIAC trophy. Chao returned to the singles lineup that afternoon, playing in the #4 spot to switch with Nicole Holsted PO ’13, who played #5. Chao had no trouble moving up a spot, winning 6-0, 6-0. #2 singles player Kara Wang PO ’12 took her opponent to a third-set tiebreaker, but in the end wound up losing 10-5. Pomona first-year Arthi Padmanabhan’s #3 singles match also culminated in a third set where she prevailed 10-7.

Even as the team expected to make it to the finals Saturday morning and play CMS, they stayed invested in their matches though three sets to definitively put away Redlands.

Chao stayed in the lineup at #4 the next morning, after last week when she won at the #5 spot against CMS and Holsted couldn’t break down her opponent playing #4. The strategy paid off for Coach Ann Lebedeff as Chao was able to win in straight sets at #4 and Holsted took away an easy win 6-2, 6-2. Hsu was also able to reverse her fortunes from last week, taking her opponent down 6-2, 6-2.

The only Sagehens to lose in the match with CMS were Jamie Solomon PZ ’13 and Wang, who couldn’t take down Kristin and Crystal Lim either in singles or doubles.

Following the conclusion of SCIAC play, the conference named the all-league selections, with five Sagehens honored. #27 Jamie Solomon, #28 Kara Wang, and Arthi Padmanabhan were named to the all-league first team, while Nicole Holsted and Sammy Chao were named to the second team. The only D-III opponent Solomon couldn’t quite edge out, CMS’s Kristin Lim, was named the SCIAC player of the year.

The Hens now have two weeks to prepare for the NCAA championships, which will take place from May 12 to 14 and will be hosted jointly by Pomona-Pitzer and CMS. For up-to-date information on the team’s progress check the Pomona-Pitzer Athletics or NCAA websites.

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