It has been quite a week for the women’s varsity tennis team. On Wednesday, the Yellowjackets defeated Nazareth College, 6-3, in a dual match at home. The ‘Jackets then traveled to St. Lawrence University during Meliora Weekend to compete in the Liberty League Championships. UR had a great run, winning fourth place out of a tough draw of eight.
The Yellowjackets started out strong against Nazareth, winning all three doubles matches. At first doubles, junior Colleen Cross and sophomore Cassie Webster defeated Nazareth’s Stephanie Parvan and Rachel Leonard, 8-5. The UR duo of junior Alexa Perry and sophomore Melinda Beckmann won their second doubles match over Jackie Martinez and Ellen Austin, 8-2.
UR’s third doubles team followed suit, as freshman Megan Mears and sophomore Sanjana Prabhakar scored an 8-4 win over Nazareth’s Betsy O’Brian and Emily McAdoo.
Further wins were secured by three of six Yellowjackets singles players to capture the match from Naz. At first singles, Cross defeated Parvan in straight sets, with a final score of 6-2, 6-2. Perry was another UR double winner, defeating O’Brian of Nazareth 7-5, 6-1, at third singles. The final win for the Yellowjackets came from Mears at sixth singles, as she easily defeated Nazareth’s Jessica Faber, 6-0, 6-2.
The overall success of the Nazareth match served as a confidence booster as the Yellowjackets prepared for the Liberty League Championships, which took place last weekend at St. Lawrence.
“With a pretty solid win over Naz, we all felt good about entering Liberty Leagues” Cross said, “We knew there would be tough competition, but each win we secure makes us feel stronger as a team,”
Rochester first faced long time rival St. Lawrence and won 5-2, as the match was played to decision. As in the Nazareth match, UR had a great start, winning all three doubles matches. The star duo of Cross and Webster defeated SLU’s Kirsten Lannon and Liz Karam, 8-6. At second doubles, Perry and Beckmann won, 8-3, over Chelsea Hubbell and Candice Vallejos of SLU. Mears and Wells also had a vast win over SLU, defeating Denise Kyte and Sara Bernier, 8-2, at third doubles.
In singles play, Webster crushed Karam, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 2. Perry overpowered Hubbell at third singles, 7-5, 6-0. Because it takes five points to win the overall match, this secured the win for UR, and halted match play. At this time, SLU had gained two points, winning at fourth and sixth singles; Beckmann lost to Gillman 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 and Wells lost to Bernier, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 6.
Cross and Mears were still on the court when the match was decided. At No. 1, Cross had lost the first set 6-1, won the second set 6-3, and was trailing Lannon 2-1 in the third set. Mears had won her first set 6-2 and was up in the second set 5-4 versus Vallejos at No. 5.
This win propelled UR to the semifinals, against top-seeded Vassar College. They were defeated 5-1. The only win for UR came from Cross and Webster at first doubles, as they defeated Vassar’s Debbie Sharnak and Kelly Graham 9-8.
Cross and Webster were double winners at the third place match against Hamilton College. At first doubles, they beat twins Kara and Marni Powers of Hamilton, 8-4. Then at No. 1 singles, Cross topped Kara Powers, 6-1, 6-4, and Webster beat Marni Powers, 6-2, 6-1. The final team score for the third place match went in favor of Hamilton, as they defeated Rochester 6-3.
The ‘Jackets were pleased with their performance this weekend.
“It has always been a pre-season goal to place in the top four at Liberty Leagues,” Cross said. “Although we have been climbing towards that spot, this is the first time in the three years that we have done it. The underclassmen really proved themselves this weekend, we have a lot to be proud of as a team.”
The team has one more tournament left before they return for their spring season. They will compete in the New York State Women’s Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament at Cornell University on Oct. 20-22.
Sall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.