With four more matches under their belts, the Pomona-Pitzer women’s tennis team has once again put itself in the perfect position to win the SCIAC title. The Hens put down conference opponents Cal Lutheran, La Verne, and Caltech, all by scores of 9-0, and finished off the weekend with a tough 6-3 win over Chapman.
The lineup at Cal-Lu differed slightly from the usual, with Kara Wang PO ’13 sitting the match out. The rest of the starters moved up one spot and Kristin Brikmanis PO ’14 filled in at the #6 position. The team had no trouble winning a total of 97 games to Cal Lutheran’s 18.
The next day the Hens rolled over La Verne with another slightly changed lineup, with Ellie Shanholt PO ’12 playing her second ranked match of the year. She filled in at the #6 spot nicely, winning without breaking a sweat, 6-1, 6-1.
Hosting Cal Tech a day later, Coach Ann Lebedeff took the opportunity to rotate some players into the lineup as Courtney Hamilton PO ’13 started at the #6 spot. The team put away Cal Tech 96 games to 14 in another blowout.
The real test came on Sunday as non-conference opponent Chapman visited. The team won #1 doubles and #3 doubles without too much difficulty but lost #2 doubles after going up 6-2 in the 8 game set. The loss kept Chapman in the competition, and the Panthers rallied to take a lead in several of the ensuing singles matches.
“The team stepped it up another level when Chapman made a huge challenge to come back in the singles,” Coach Lebedeff said. “We did this against UC Santa Cruz early in the season, and I’ve seen them reach another level in their game numerous times, even in some 9-0 wins.”
Even after Arthi Padmanabhan PO ’14 had thoroughly demolished her opponent and Jess Hsu PO ’13 had fought to win, the team was only winning by a match score of 4-3 because of tough losses by Sammy Chao PO ’14 and Kara Wang PO ’13. Entering the contest as the squad's only undefeated player, Chao dropped her first match but remains an impressive 23-1 on the season. Nicole Holsted PO ’12 and Jamie Solomon PZ ’13 were the last two playing on the courts after having split sets. Needing only one more win for a team victory, the women came through strong at the end, winning both the #4 and #1 singles matches.
“The wins that Nicole Holsted, Jessica Hsu, Arthi Padmanabhan, and Jamie Solomon produced in singles against Chapman were huge,” Coach Lebedeff said.
The next challenge for the Sagehens comes tomorrow at 2 p.m. on the Pomona courts as they face conference rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a match that will determine who wins the conference title. Both teams come into the match boasting conference records of 6-0; CMS is 15- 1 overall and the Hens are 13-2. The matchup of the day will take place on court 1 as Jamie Solomon, ranked 27th nationally and 2nd in the west region, will take on CMS #1 player Kristin Lim, who is ranked 1st in the west.