Heading into last weekend’s matches, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (16-2, 3-0 SCIAC) women’s tennis team was rolling. The Athenas had won 16 straight matches to start the season and were ranked No. 3 in the country.
That was before No. 2 Williams and No. 1 Emory came to town.
The Athenas faced off against the Ephs Saturday morning, and the match was exciting as anticipated.
After the teams split the first eight matches of the day, all eyes turned to the No. 6 singles court, where Rebecca Berger CM ’21 faced off with Williams’ Julia Cancio in the tie-breaking match.
Berger got off to a fast start, but after winning the first set 7-5, she ran out of gas, dropping the last two sets to Cancio 3-6, 2-6, and the Ephs took the match.
Although the loss to Williams stung, the Athenas needed to rebound quickly and prepare for their match Sunday morning against No. 1 Emory.
The Eagles and Athenas battled back and forth throughout, and once again, CMS found itself tied 4-4 with one match remaining. At No. 1 singles, Catherine Allen SC ’20 took on Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico. The best players on two of the top teams in the country put on a show, trading punches until the final serve.
With both teams watching closely, Allen jumped out to a 4-3 lead in the deciding third set. But Gonzalez-Rico won the last three games, taking the final set 4-3 and winning the match for the Eagles 5-4.
Though the weekend’s results were disappointing for CMS, the matches showed that the Athenas deserve to be in the conversation of the best teams in the country.
The Athenas will be back in action March 30, and face another tough match when the No. 4 Middlebury Panthers come to Claremont.