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Women’s Tennis Extends Perfect Record with Four More Victories

By Nisha Singh
TEAM CO-CAPTAIN

The women’s tennis team played four matches this past week. On Saturday, they travelled to Worcester to play Clark University in a conference match, winning 8-1. On Sunday, they went up to Maine to face non-conference opponents Colby College and Bates College, winning both matches 5-4. On Tuesday, the women hosted WPI in conference clash, again winning 7-2 to remain undefeated.

In doubles action against Clark, Julie J. Koo ’03 and Jessica Hall ’02 won 8-2 at first doubles, as did Doana Cecan ’00 and Jessica M. Yeh ’01 at third doubles.

Co-captains Mealani K. Nakamura ’00 and Nisha Singh ’00 teamed up at second doubles for the first time, and had a slightly more difficult time, winning by a score of 8-4.

In singles, Nakamura and Koo lost a combined total of one game between them at first and second singles, with Nakamura blanking her opponent 6-0, 6-0, and Koo winning 6-0, 6-1. Hall faced a tenacious opponent at third singles, but fought her off 6-4, 6-4. Cecan and Singh cruised at fourth and fifth singles with 6-2, 6-0 scores. Fighting both illness and the conditions, Yeh lost 7-5, 6-1 at sixth singles.

Team knocks off two in Maine

On Sunday morning, the team faced rival Colby, a team they hadn’t beaten in three years. MIT got off to a strong start in doubles, with the team of Nakamura-Kelly Koskelin ’02 winning 8-0 at first doubles, and Koo-Hall winning 8-1 at second doubles. The third and fourth doubles teams weren’t as fortunate, with Cecan-Priscilla P. Cheung ’02 and Singh-Ann Hsing ’02 both losing 8-6.

The singles matches were unpredictable, as Colby had many freshmen and strong singles players. Nakamura suffered a rare 6-3, 6-2 loss at first singles, while Koskelin and Koo cruised at second and third singles 6-1, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-0.

Hall had the match of the day at fourth singles. After winning the first set 6-2 she dropped the second 4-6. With the overall match score 4-3 at the time, a victory by Hall would clinch the victory for MIT. As she has already done before in her MIT career, Hall came through, winning the third set easily 6-1.

Cecan and Singh dropped their matches at fifth and sixth singles, with scores of 6-4, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-3. Cheung won easily at seventh singles, while Hsing had to go to the distance at eighth singles, winning in three sets.

The team then faced Bates College on Sunday afternoon. The match was played indoors and the surface proved challenging, but the MIT women were ready, drawing on their experience and determination. The doubles matches were closer than in the morning against Colby, with MIT using the same lineup. The first and second doubles teams were both victorious, winning 8-4 and 8-6. The third and fourth doubles teams fought hard, but lost 8-5 and 8-2.

Going into singles with the 2-1 lead, MIT was prepared for tough matches, and there were many. Nakamura won 6-2, 7-6 at first singles, while Koskelin was victorious 6-4, 6-3. Koo had the easiest match, winning up 6-2, 6-1 at third singles. Fourth, fifth, and sixth singles were all Bates victories, with Hall losing 6-2, 6-3, Cecan 6-3, 6-3, and Singh 6-4, 6-4.

Head coach Carol Matsuzaki had some thoughts on the busy weekend: “This weekend was a great experience for us both as a team and as individuals. Everyone is at a different stage in her own tennis development and a match is almost always a good test of how well we can execute under pressure. It was a good opportunity for us.”

WPI fall on MIT’s home courts

On Tuesday, the women finally got a welcomed return home against WPI. The doubles results were mixed. Nakamura-Hall won 8-4 at first doubles, while Singh-Yi-Ning Cheng ’02 lost 8-5. The third doubles team of Cecan-Cheung blanked their opponents 8-0.

Most of the singles matches were fairly routine. Nakamura and Hall dropped a total of three games between them, winning 6-0, 6-2 and 6-0, 6-1. Cecan lost a heart-breaker 6-3, 7-5 at third singles in the longest match of the night. Singh and Cheng bounced back from their doubles defeat, cruising at fourth and fifth singles 6-2, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-0. Cheung and Jean Yang ’00 did the same at sixth and seventh singles, winning 6-1, 6-0 and 8-0.

“We showed good poise in beating WPI,” said Matsuzaki. “We have some very tough matches coming up -- Tufts, Wellesley, Smith. We need to show them what we’re made of by excelling under pressure. We need to play some good and solid tennis.”

The team hosts Wellesley on Tuesday.