Women’s tennis loses at ITA National Championships, takes 7th

This past weekend, the Carnegie Mellon women’s tennis team, ranked sixth in Division III, traveled to DePauw University to compete in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Going into the tournament looking to defend their title, the Tartans came home with a disappointing seventh-place finish after defeating Johns Hopkins University in their final match. The Tartans now have a blemish on their otherwise spotless record, and move to 5–2.

On Friday, the Tartans, seeded fourth in the tournament, squared off against number-eight Denison University, regarded by many to be one of the best teams in the country. The Tartans dug themselves an early hole, as they got swept in doubles to immediately go down 3–0. With their title hopes looking bleaker by the second, the Tartans went down without much fight, losing the match by an overall score of 8–1.

First-year Alex Tapak recorded the lone Tartan win at third singles in a grueling three set match.

The Tartans woke up the next day for an 8:30 a.m. match looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss, and faced Gustavus Adolphus College in the first round of the consolation bracket. The doubles team of junior Ashley Herrick and sophomore Laura Chen staked Carnegie Mellon to an early 1–0 lead by winning at first doubles by a score of 8–3. Unfortunately for the Tartans, they dropped the remaining two doubles matches and went into singles down 2–1.

Chen again started off the scoring at first singles, cruising to a 6–0, 6–0 win. With a win at second singles by sophomore Courtney Chin, 6–2, 6–4, the Tartans were in pretty good shape going into the remaining matches. However, losses at third and fourth singles tightened the match and put Gustavus ahead. Soon enough, Gustavus rallied from deficits at fifth and sixth singles to snatch victory from the reeling Tartan tennis team.

After the two disappointing losses to Denison and Gustavus, the Tartans went into their seventh-place match against Johns Hopkins with a feeling of failure. However, this did not stop them from taking care of business, as the Tartans swept doubles behind a strong victory from the newly formed first doubles team of Chen and Chin.

Going into the singles matches up 3–0, the Tartans finished off Hopkins with a flurry of wins by sophomore Cze-Ja Tam 6–2, 6–2, and junior Kelly Hart, 5–7, 6–3, 1–0 (12-10). The Tartans forcefully –ulled themselves together and took their only win by the score of 7–2.

“A lot of things went wrong this weekend,” Tam stated. “We didn’t have the right winning attitude the whole tournament, which brought us down. What we do from this point will determine our strength and character, not this past weekend.”

Sophomore Laura Chen shared her teammate’s sentiments. “I think we all need to straighten out our priorities and work together as a team to make these losses a distant past. We have our spring break trip next week and another round of matches — a chance for redemption.”

“We completely forgot the significance of ‘national’ when we went to this national team championship,” Tapak said. “These teams were very tough and we just got outplayed. But it’s still early in the season, so we can move forward from this point. We know what our weaknesses are and we can focus on getting better.”

The Tartans will travel to Claremont, Calif. over spring break to take on a series of tough opponents and hope to prove themselves once again.