Sports

Women’s tennis defeats #10 Redlands, #7 Pomona-Pitzer over break

Junior Jennifer Chui sets up to hit a backhand. Chui helped the Tartans take down seventh-ranked Pomona-Pitzer (6–3) by winning her match at fourth singles. (credit: Courtney Chin/Sports Editor) Junior Jennifer Chui sets up to hit a backhand. Chui helped the Tartans take down seventh-ranked Pomona-Pitzer (6–3) by winning her match at fourth singles. (credit: Courtney Chin/Sports Editor)

Just last week, the Carnegie Mellon women’s tennis team, ranked 11th in Division III, competed in California for the team’s traditional spring break trip. After starting out slowly and getting used to the nice weather, the Tartans overcame some recent losses to finish the trip with a record of 3–1, leaving them at 8–3 overall.

The Tartans started off their spring break play by traveling to Chapman University, a team that was ranked 23rd at the time. Under the beating sun, the Tartans staked themselves to an early 2–1 lead in doubles. Sophomore Courtney Chin and junior Kelly Hart ground their opponents down for a win at second doubles with a score of 8–4. The third doubles team of junior Jennifer Chui and freshman Alex Tapak steamrolled their opponents to put the Tartans in the lead going into the always-competitive singles play. Unfortunately for the Tartans, singles did not work out as they expected. Singles wins by Chin and fellow sophomore Cze-Ja Tam got the Tartans one win away from clinching, but they were unable to finish. In a grueling sixth singles match, senior Alisa Liebowitz fell short by a score of 6–3, 0–6, 6–3, handing the Tartans a surprising loss to begin spring break.

Later in the week, the Tartans looked forward to redeeming themselves after a disappointing start. Their next match was against 10th-ranked University of Redlands. With the boisterous Redlands fans looking on, Carnegie Mellon jumped out to take a 2–1 lead by winning at the first and third doubles spots. The Tartans then showed the Bulldogs who was the better team, winning five of the six singles matches. The match was not without drama, however, as Chin had a marathon match at first singles. After dropping the first set, Chin used the support of her fellow Tartans along with a big forehand to capture the match in a tiebreaker.

Two days later, the women traveled to seventh-ranked Pomona-Pitzer College for a date with the Sagehens. From the beginning of the match, the Tartans took control, making sure that their opponents knew that they were the better team. After sweeping all three doubles matches, the Tartans clinched the match easily by winning five out of six singles matches. One notable match came from Chui, playing fourth singles, who beat a tough Pomona-Pitzer player with a score of 7–5, 6–2. For the Tartans, this was a huge win, and their second in a row over a top-10 nationally ranked team.

The Tartans then concluded a successful spring break by handily defeating Trinity College (Texas) with a score of 8–1. Chin, who played first singles most of the week, went undefeated at that spot by finishing with a convincing 6–0, 6–2 win.

By finishing the week with a 3–1 overall record, the Tartans notched some much-needed wins after a string of disappointing losses.

“We were able to get our momentum back this week,” junior Ashley Herrick said. “Hard work and focus is what it takes to compete at a top level.”

The Tartans will continue their quest for a national championship against California University of Pennsylvania at home on Wednesday at 4 p.m.