Tennis Seeded First, Heads for NEWMACBy Caroline Tien
After two months of intense practices and matches, the MIT women’s fall tennis season is winding down. The team wrapped up their the regular season with a 9-1 record. This weekend, they will compete in the New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament.
Two weeks ago, the team lost a hard-fought, spirited battle to Tufts University, 0-9. MIT came out strong, but Tufts emerged the victor, securing the crucial match points. Sarah Nelson ’06, MIT’s #8 in singles, took the sole victory for MIT, winning her match 8-6. With the team’s loss, the women Engineers fell to 6-1, though the match did not count towards their NEWMAC standings. The team then bounced back to seal their season with three straight victories.
Tech turns tables vs. WPI
In their next match, MIT knocked out WPI 9-0. The lady Engineers quickly won their five doubles matches with the tandems of Julie J. Koo ’03/Larissa M. Egloff ’04, Shima Rayej ’04/Jill L. Konowich ’06, Caroline Tien ’04/Jaclyn E. Cichon ’05, Jen Lee ’03/Nelson, and Ruby Pai ’04/Alexis R. Desieno ’05 collectively losing only one out of the 41 games they played. Singles play continued in a similar fashion, with MIT easily sweeping the action as Koo, Rayej, Egloff, Cichon, and Konowich each notched wins.
Lee had a tougher match against WPI, facing an opponent with a game style similar to her own. After Lee won the first set 6-3, her opponent continued to fight relentlessly, creating long rallies and all-court movement. However, Lee’s persistence paid off at the end of the thrilling, second set; she landed a 7-5 victory. Pai, Nelson and Arzeno also took straight set victories. Due to a minor injury, #3 singles player, Tien, sat out of the match. Sophomore Alexis Desieno stepped in to play two consecutive pro-set matches, winning them 8-0, and 8-2.
Tech fares well in stormy weather
On Oct. 9, MIT traveled to face a strong team from Brandeis University, and came out on top, 6-3.
Because of bad weather and lighting, singles play started first. Of to a disappointing start, Koo fell to a hard-hitting player and was defeated 6-3, 6-1. Rayej also faced a tough, consistent opponent and lost 6-1, 6-0.
Tien’s match was a battle of persistence and patience. Despite her early 4-1 lead in the first set, she had a focus lapse and ultimately lost, 6-7. In the second set, she started off slowly, but regained confidence and came back from 4-1 deficit to capture the set 7-5. With the third set to be decided by a 10-point “super tie-breaker,” Tien pulled it all together to win 10-7.
Arzeno’s match was a thriller as well. After losing the first set 4-6, Arzeno creamed her opponent in the second (6-2) and captured the win in the third set tiebreaker, 10-5. Rounding out the singles play, Egloff, Cichon, and Konowich all downed their opponents swiftly, and Lee stayed composed to pull off a close 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Moving indoors for doubles action, Koo/Egloff fell 8-5 in a fast-paced match, while Rayej/Konowich put their two different doubles styles together to win 8-6. Tien/Cichon implemented serving-and-volleying and controlled net play to win 8-3.
Team sweeps Mt. Holyoke at home
For their last home match of the season on Oct. 12, MIT battled it out against Mt. Holyoke College and finished them off 9-0. Because of the inclement weather, all match play was held in the tennis bubble.
In doubles, Koo/Egloff (8-2), Rayej/Konowich (8-1), Tien/Cichon (8-6), and Nelson/Arzeno (8-5) all secured victories. Pai/Desieno lost their match 8-1.
MIT picked it up another level in singles play, making fewer unforced errors. Koo pummeled her opponent to win 6-0, 6-2 and Rayej also used power and aggression to win 6-0, 6-1. Tien came back from an initial 0-2 deficit to win in two, while Egloff nailed her opponent 6-1 in the second set after a close 6-4 first set. Cichon, Konowich, Elaine Ni ’06, and Lee all won their matches easily.
MIT favored in post-season play
This past weekend, Koo, Rayej, Tien, Egloff, Cichon and Konowich traveled to Amherst, MA to compete in the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament (NEWITT). Despite facing tough competition, all fared well.
“We went there, we played hard, and we had fun. That’s what matters,” Egloff said.
This upcoming weekend, the group will be traveling to Western Massachusetts to participate in the New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference Tournament. MIT, seeded #1, is expected to do well.
The team’s impressive record and their current conference standing reflect their months of hard work.
“This season has been great. I think we learned a lot from last year, and we stepped up to the challenge when we most needed to,” Rayej said. “I’m really looking forward to putting it all together at NEWMACs.”