Women’s tennis outplayed by #3 Williams

Junior Ashley Herrick returns a serve against Williams College. The Tartans fell 7–2 to the Ephs. (credit: Devin Beahm/Photo Staff) Junior Ashley Herrick returns a serve against Williams College. The Tartans fell 7–2 to the Ephs. (credit: Devin Beahm/Photo Staff)

The number-11 women’s tennis team traveled to the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. to take on the defending national champion, the Williams College Ephs. The match was very competitive, but the Tartans suffered a 7–2 loss to the number-three Ephs.

The doubles matches were played indoors due to cold weather in the morning. The number-one team of sophomore Laura Chen and junior Ashley Herrick fell 8–4 to Williams’ top team of Kristen Alotta and Nikki Reich. The Tartans were without the services of normal second doubles player sophomore Kelly Hart, so the team of sophomore Courtney Chin and first-year Alex Tapak played the spot. Both players performed well, but lost 8–6 after Williams rallied at 6–4 to win four games straight. At third doubles, junior Jennifer Chui and sophomore Cze-Ja Tam won a two-hour marathon match, 9–8, to get Carnegie Mellon on the board.

“It was a tough match, but I’m glad Cze and I were able to fight it out for the win,” Chui said. “Williams is one of the best teams in the nation, and this match, along with the closeness of second doubles and the singles matches, shows we are not far behind them.”

The match was moved outside at the conclusion of doubles as the temperature rose 20 degrees. The Tartans suffered losses at fourth and sixth singles, but Chen won at first singles against one of the top players in the nation to extend the match and make the score 4–2. Williams was able to clinch the match when Tapak fell 6–3, 6–3 at the third singles spot. Williams got their sixth point at fifth singles as Tam suffered a 7–6, 6–2 loss. The last match on the court was Chin at number-two singles, against an opponent who has a current 42-match winning streak in her college career. Chin fought hard but lost 6–4, 6–7, 10–8. The Tartans were very close with one of the best teams in the country.

“This match was very mentally tough for everyone,” Chen reflected. “We really had to elevate our games and push ourselves one step further to stay competitive. We still have a few weeks before UAAs, so we’ll be working hard to prepare.”

The Tartans will be back in action next Saturday, when they take on the University of Mary Washington, followed by Johns Hopkins University the next day, both at home. The Tartans beat Hopkins 7–2 last month at the National Indoors and look to repeat their success.