It was a busy weekend for the UR women’s tennis team, splitting a pair of matches against St. Lawrence University and Williams College. On Saturday, April 13, the ’Jackets triumphed 6-3 over St. Lawrence in the team’s second-to-last home match of the year. The following day, the ‘Jackets traveled east to Hamilton College, where their match against the Williams Ephs took place. Williams, which has won the NCAA Division III tennis championship for the past five years, proved to be too much for the ‘Jackets, handing UR a 9-0 loss.
Despite a late start against St. Lawrence, the ‘Jackets came out strong to jump to a 2-1 lead after doubles. At first doubles, senior Frances Tseng and sophomore Cara Genbauffe played a strong match to top their opponents 8-6. Also victorious were senior Hayley Brower and sophomore Rachel Suresky, who cruised to an 8-2 win at third doubles. The fight put up by freshmen Molly Goodman and Christine Ho proved to be just not enough, as the duo fell 8-6.
In singles play, Tseng, who is ranked 20th in the region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, gave the ‘Jackets their third point of the day with a 6-3, 6-4 win at the first position. Ho put forth a powerful performance in a 6-3, 6-0 victory at position 4, putting the ‘Jackets within one match of clinching the overall win. That win would not come easily, however, as St. Lawrence stormed back to win at positions two and three, with Suresky and Genbauffe both falling. With the overall score at 4-3, the matches at fifth and sixth singles would end up determining the team’s fate.
Though the score would not indicate it, junior Janice Zhao had to fight to win her match 6-2, 6-2 at position six, keeping her cool throughout the encounter as she clinched the win for UR, something she has done a number of times this spring.
Goodman’s match at fifth singles turned out to be the match of the day, with the UR freshman prevailing 6-0, 1-6, 7-5. The victory for Goodman was a perfect way to cap the day for the ‘Jackets, who moved to a record of 10-4 with the win.
Sunday’s results against powerhouse Williams were among the more lopsided scores the ‘Jackets have seen all season, as the third ranked Ephs showed why they have developed a reputation as one of the best teams in Division III tennis. After sweeping the doubles matches with 8-1, 8-0, and 8-2 scores, the Ephs rolled through the singles, sweeping UR in straight sets at every position. Tseng put up a good fight in the first set of her match at first singles, but was eventually worn down by the relentless power and spin of her opponent, currently ranked 16th in the nation. While the blowout loss was certainly not an ideal result for UR, the team was in good spirits afterwards, knowing that the match was a valuable learning experience that will likely pay dividends in the future for the young ‘Jackets.
With only two more matches until the UAA Conference tournament in Florida, the ‘Jackets will look to rebound against a couple of intrastate foes. UR will travel to Saratoga Springs to take on the Skidmore Thoroughbreds on Saturday, April 20 before returning home to wrap up their home schedule against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Sunday, April 21. The home match, which will be senior day, kicks off at 11 a.m. at the Peter Lyman Tennis Center.
Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.