The Pomona-Pitzer women’s tennis match against Williams College this past Friday came down to intense play and hard-fought matches to decide the outcome. The No. 5 ranked Sagehens gave it their all, but fell to the No. 3 Ephs with a final score of 6-3, which dropped their record to 10-5 overall.
They opened with doubles play where Williams outperformed P-P and took two out of three matches. The No. 1 doubles pair Emily Chen PO ’18 and Maryann Zhao PO ’18 lost a nail-biter two-hour pro set with a final score of 9-8 (3). The No. 3 duo Grace Hruska PZ ’18 and Joy Kim PO ’19 also fell to Williams’ No. 3 team 8-3.
The only doubles win came from the No. 2 match, with Caroline Casper PO ’18 and Arianna Chen PO ’19 soundly defeating their opponents 8-1.
Against each of their competitors, the Sagehens employ a similar approach.
“Our main team strategy involving matches is to compete and work hard in every match,” wrote Head Coach Ann Lebedeff in an email to TSL. “We can’t control our opponent’s efforts or match play, but we can control our attitude and effort during the matches.”
Both Casper and Lebedeff saw room for improvement in the team’s doubles play.
“I think our team did well keeping all the matches close against Williams, and competing hard,” Casper wrote in an email to TSL. “We are hoping to improve in doubles so that we can go into singles with a lead, and be able to close matches out.”
Casper herself was a key player, and head coach Ann Lebedeff noted her performance in the No. 1 singles match as especially memorable. Casper came back to win the No. 1 singles from 5-0 down in the third set to win 10-6, after winning the first 6-4 and dropping the second 6-7 (5). The other singles win was secured in straight sets from Zhao in the No. 2 matchup.
It was redemption for Zhao after losing to Myong from Williams last year in the NCAA semifinals. The remaining four singles matches went to Williams.
The Sagehens had been getting ready for this matchup all season.
“The majority of our preparation for our match against Williams was all the practice we have been putting in since our season started in January,” Casper wrote. “Going into the match, our strategy was to fight our hardest and to be really unified as a team. Even though we play our … individual matches in tennis, a supportive and unified team makes us as individuals play better.”
Even though their match ended with a loss, Casper still maintains a positive attitude.
“Our match against Williams and the other ranked teams that we have played recently showed us that we are truly a top tier team that has the potential to win a national championship, as well as the weaknesses we need to improve to reach this goal,” she wrote.
Looking forward, the main goal for the team is to “put themselves in contention with for the NCAA team title. For this to happen, the team needs to work harder these last eight weeks and perform better,” wrote Lebedeff.
The Sagehens will next hit the court to play California Institute of Technology on April 8 at 10 a.m.