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Women's Tennis Drops One to Skidmore, Beats Tufts

By Erik S. Balsley
Staff Reporter

The women's tennis team played its first home match this past Saturday, losing 81 against a strong Skidmore College team in a non-conference match. The team came back with a 54 win against Tufts University on Tuesday.

In spite of the initial loss, the Engineers showed the strength on which they hope to build throughout the season.

Because of inclement weather on Saturday, the games were moved from the tennis courts along Amherst Street to the J.B. Carr Indoor Tennis Facility.

A women's collegiate tennis match consists of three doubles matches and six singles matches. Each match won earns a point. In order to win the overall match, a team must win five of the nine points.

Sixth player Neda Ramirez '00, earned MIT its one point by defeating her opponent in straight sets 76, 63. The other players on the team also put in strong efforts against the aggressive Skidmore team. First player Mealani Nakamura '00 and second player Michelle Youn '00 in particular played well in their first matches for MIT with scores of 64, 61 and 64, 63 respectively in their matches.

Nakamura was able to hold her own well against Skidmore player Jamie Levine, who competed in last year's NCAA Division III National Championship.

Given that the lineups for the doubles matches were announced the afternoon of the match, the matches were played well and the players were able to hang on to Skidmore for most of them.

"Skidmore is a tough team to play as a first game," said coach Merilee Keller. In their previous two matches, Skidmore has beaten the University of Vermont (90) and Saint Lawrence University (54).

"They're a hard-hitting, aggressive team," Keller said. She said she was pleased with how the MIT players "hung in there pretty well."

The players also appeared satisfied despite the loss. "The team is playing quite well," said team member Nora Humphrey '98. But "we may need to touch up and refine a few things," she added.

Keller expressed similar sentiments. The team is still "a little rough at the edges," she said. "If we had played [Skidmore] at the end of the season, we would have been better," she said.

Team co-captain Sarah Kringer '97 said she thinks that "the team shows a lot of promise." She added that the team has a lot of good freshmen who will add depth to the team.

The match was also the first for Keller as head coach of the women's team. She comes to MIT after coaching the Harvard University and Brown University junior varsity teams.

Keller said that she enjoys coaching at MIT and finds that her players have "pretty good attitudes" toward tennis. They also have a "good perspective on tennis and academics," she said.

Team beats Tufts 54

After meeting Skidmore on Saturday, the team faced a traditionally strong opponent, Tufts University, on Tuesday at home. Once again because of the persistent rain, these games were also played in the indoor tennis facility.

The team played very well and ended up winning the match 54. The first doubles team of Nakamura and Humphrey won their match earning MIT its first point.

First player Nakamura and second player Youn once again showed their strength and won their matches in straight sets. Fifth player Kringer easily beat her Tufts opponent.

Facing tough opponents, both Humphrey and Ramirez lost their matches in straight sets. Although she lost her match, team co-captain Lily Koo '97 played three tough sets against her opponent.

The team will have their next home match today at 4 p.m. against Colby College.