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Tennis Preseves Perfect Season By Topping Babson, Mt. Holyoke

By Nisha Singh

On Saturday, the women’s tennis team travelled to play Mt. Holyoke College in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference match. In the past, this team had not given MIT too much difficulty. However, after acquiring some talented freshmen, they gave MIT a run for their money. MIT did pull out the match, staying undefeated, winning 5-4.

In doubles play, the top teams won easily while the others struggled. The first doubles team of co-captain Mealani K. Nakaumura ’00 and Kelly J. Koskelin ’02 easily won 8-2, while the second team of Julie J. Koo ’03 and Jessica Hall ’02 blanked their opponents 8-0. However, the third doubles team of Nisha Singh ’00 and Yi-Ning Cheng ’02 lost 8-6, after coming back from deficits of 6-3 and 7-4. The fourth doubles team of Doana Cecan ’00 and Jessica M. Yeh ’01 lost 8-4, and the fifth doubles team of Jean C. Yang ’00 and Ann Hsing ’02 hung tough but lost 8-6.

Leading 2-1 going into the singles, MIT knew that the match was far from over. Nakamura, Koskelin, and Koo cruised at first, second, and third singles, losing a combined 6 games between them. Their scores were 6-1, 6-1; 6-2, 6-2; and 6-0, 6-1, respectively. Hall lost at fourth singles 6-2, 6-0, and Cecan lost a marathon match 7-5, 7-6 (6) at fifth singles. Singh had the most roller-coaster match of the day at sixth singles. After dropping the first set 6-0, she bounced back to win the second set 6-3 after having a 3-0 lead evaporate to 4-3. However, to the credit of her Mt. Holyoke opponent, she was simply outplayed in the third set losing 6-2. Her doubles partner, Cheng, rolled at seventh singles, winning 6-1, 6-1.

Yeh lost at eighth singles 6-2, 6-0, and Yang lost at 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-1 despite playing for three hours. Hsing lost 6-2, 6-1 at tenth singles.

Though it was an emotionally draining day, the coaches had some thoughts. Head coach Carol Matsuzaki said, “It was a good win over a much improved Mt. Holyoke team. More importantly, many of our players got much needed playing experience.”

First-year assistant coach Roxann Blanchard agreed. “We lost some close ones which is always tough, but it was a great team win. I was really impressed with everyone's attitude and effort.”

Another sweep against Babson

On Tuesday, the women’s tennis team travelled to Babson for a NEWMAC conference match. Despite threatening skies, the match was completed, with MIT earning a 9-0 sweep and remaining undefeated for the season.

In doubles play, Koo and Hall simply overpowered their opponents, winning 8-1 at first doubles. Singh and Cheng struggled through a match that saw many lead changes and ties. They used grit and determination to grind out a 9-7 victory. The third and fourth doubles team both won easily. Cecan and Priscilla P. Cheung ’02 won 8-2, as well as Phebe Y. Wang ’02 and Yang.

Going into singles, conditions were rough. It looked like the skies were going to open up at any minute, and it was already dark. The Babson courts had no lights, so MIT wanted to play well and claim the victory. They did just that, with Koo and Hall winning their matches without dropping a game (6-0, 6-0) at first and second singles. Cecan had a difficult first set at third singles 7-5, but once she got through it she was in the homestretch, winning the second set 6-0.

Singh had no problems at fourth singles, racking up a 6-2, 6-0 win. Fifth and sixth singles were both very competitive. Cheng dropped her first set 6-1 at fifth, but pulled herself together, blanking her opponent 6-0 in the second and winning the third set 6-2. Cheung had the longest match of the day, outlasting her opponent into the dark with a 6-4, 6-4 win. Wang and Yang were unstoppable at seventh and eighth singles, both winning 6-0, 6-0.

Head coach Carol Matsuzaki seemed pleased. “Once again we had a couple of close matches that we managed to pull through. It is important that we stay focused as we go into the heart of our season as well as deeper into the academic year.”

MIT travels to Worcester to play Clark University on Saturday in a conference match. They then travel to Maine to play Colby College and Bates College in a non-conference doubleheader on Sunday.