After Falling to #7 Middlebury, Hens Rebound Against Whittier

Pomona-Pitzer women’s tennis stands at 8-5 overall and 3-0 in SCIAC after three matches in each of the last two weeks. The Hens fell against Middlebury March 28, but rebounded to soundly defeat Whittier and Occidental. 

The Hens fell in all three doubles matches, allowing seventh-ranked Middlebury to go up 3-0 early. In singles, despite a few close matches, the Hens lost all six for a final score of 9-0.

The closest matches came from Jessica Hsu PO ’13 and Nicole Holsted PO ’12. Hsu lost a tiebreaker (7-4) in the first set before falling 6-3 in the second. Holsted fought a long battle in the second set after losing the first 6-3, but she ultimately fell 6-3, 7-6(5).

The Hens traveled to Whittier and came away with a 7-2 win March 30, which started with a clean doubles sweep to go up 3-0.

Singles play followed in a similar manner, as P-P cruised through four of the six singles matches, despite Kara Wang PO ’13 and Hsu stepping out of singles to protect injuries. Jamie Solomon PZ ’13 and Sammy Chao PO ’14 won their matches easily at the first and second singles spots. 

“Whittier’s team was stronger than they were last year, but our team was able to step up and take care of business,” Solomon said. “A highlight was Sammy’s dominating performance as she swept her opponent off the court in about 45 minutes. It was great to see her back in the lineup after being sidelined for her wrist injury.”

Arthi Padmanabhan split sets at the third singles spot and fell in the tiebreak 10-4, which was played instead of the full third set. Holsted won her match easily on court four, while Kira Woods PO ’15, stepped into the lineup again at the fifth spot to defeat her opponent 7-5, 6-2. At the sixth spot, Ellie Shanholt PO ’12 fell in a close 6-3, 6-4 match.

“Unfortunately, Arthi’s opponent went on a roll, and because of the ten-point tiebreak format, it was tough for her to get back into the match,” Solomon said. “It was also great to see Ellie step into the lineup and play some awesome tennis.”

Woods has stepped into the lineup a few times this season in both singles and doubles and has seen a lot of success. 

 “I was so excited to get to play number five in the lineup,” Woods said. “The girl I played was really tough at first, but I knew that if I stood my ground I could win. It wasn’t easy, and I was down set-point in the first set, but it ended up being a really valuable win for me personally.”

The Hens swept Oxy 9-0 March 31, with solid performances throughout the lineup. At the top singles spot, Solomon split sets but refused to a miss a ball in the ten-point tiebreak, played instead of the third set and cruised to a 10-1 win. Meanwhile, Chao played another fifty minute match, winning easily 6-1, 6-0.

“Sammy’s opponent was a good player, but you wouldn’t have known it by the way that Sammy took her apart,” Solomon said. “Sammy displayed great energy as always, and it’s a pleasure to get to play next to her.”

Wang, who had not seen singles action in a while, was back and looking strong at the third spot, as she defeated her opponent 6-2 6-2. Kawahara dominated in a similar fashion with a 6-1 6-1 win.

“Emily Kawahara played some of the most aggressive tennis of the season, defeating her opponent handily 6-1 6-1,” Solomon said.

Woods played at the fifth slot again on Saturday and came away with another win, and Alex Antonoplis PO ’14 played at the sixth spot and won 6-3 6-0 to seal the 9-0 victory. 

“She served great and dictated points in a way that she has not done until this season,” said Solomon of Antonoplis’s performance. “She’s playing great and improving every single day.”

Although she has not been a starter in every match, Woods has shown that she can step up to the competition and is likely to continue playing a key role in the Hens’ success. She is very excited about the opportunities to play as the season progresses. 

“Overall, it was great to play in the lineup, and there’s no other team I’d rather be playing for,” she said.

In the next three weeks, the Sagehens face five SCIAC opponents, beginning with La Verne this weekend and Caltech, CMS and Chapman the following week.

“These two dominating performances will give us the confidence we need for next week as we face some tougher competition,” Solomon said.

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