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Women’s Tennis Wins Over Tough Skidmore

By Nisha Singh

The women’s tennis team started off their spring season by travelling to Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on Sunday to face Skimore College. Strong winds forced game play to move indoors. Skidmore was national champions two years ago, third in the nation last year, and was currently ranked ahead of MIT. Despite a depleted lineup, injuries, and illnesses, MIT walked away with a 6-3 victory, marking the first time in recent memory that MIT had defeated Skidmore.

In doubles, co-captain Mealani Nakamura’00/Kelly Koskelin’02 jumped out to an early lead in first doubles, but only to see their opponents rally back. MIT held on for an 8-6 win. At second doubles, the newly paired team of Nisha Singh ’00/Tara Rao ’02, found themselves down 7-0, but staged a mini-comeback. They lost 8-2. At third doubles, Julie Koo ’03 was playing without her usual partner, but Ayako Tanaka ’00 played like a seasoned veteran, and the pair crushed their opponents 8-2.

The first and second singles matches both went three sets. In the first position Nakamura dropped the first set in a tie-breaker, but fought back to win 6-1, 6-3. Koskelin also lost her first set at second singles, but evened the match after winning the second 7-5. The final set saw many momentum swings, as Koskelin jumped out to an early lead, only to be down 4-5 and facing match point. She staved it off, however, and rallied for a 7-5 third set win. Koo won in her typical fashion at third singles, 6-0, 6-2. Rao won her first college match at fourth singles, 6-4, 6-2. Singh had a rare poor performance at fifth singles, as she was unable to win a game. Priscilla Cheung ’02 lost 6-2, 6-3. Tanaka continued her fine play at seventh singles, but also lost (6-3, 6-2).

After the match, Head Coach Carol Matsuzaki said, “I am really in awe of how our team performed today. Skidmore is always a tough team and we really stayed patient and attacked at the right times. I think a lot of people took some big steps today. We need to make what happened today sink in and keep moving in the right direction.” The team faces Wesleyan at home today and travels to Vassar on Saturday. Two victories for MIT could help earn a regionals/nationals berth.