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Women’s Tennis Gets 4 in a Row

By Caroline Tien

TEAM MEMBER

MIT women’s tennis entered its fall season with a slow start, but notched four huge wins in a row to come to its current solid record of 4-2. While barely into their fourth week of play, they already have six matches under their belt

This year’s team is relatively young with four newcomers (Emily Chen ’07, Alex E. Coso ’07, Joanna L. MacKay ’07, and Jennifer A. Hipp ’04) and four sophomores on the team. However, so far the team has proven that they have the confidence, poise, and toughness to compete with the best of them.

The Engineers started their season with a close 4-5 loss against a revamped Wheaton College team earlier in September. While they gave their best effort, it just was not enough to break the tie at 4-4.

A week later the Lady Engineers encountered Babson College in a tough, down-to-the-last-point match. Though again losing 4-5, the team competed much better than they did a week prior and fought hard for every point.

The match started slowly with MIT going into singles down 0-3. Fighting off an injured shoulder, Jill L. Konowich ’06 lost 6-2, 6-4 at number six singles to bring the match score to 0-4. However, MIT came storming back, with Shima Rayej ’04, Caroline Tien ’04, Emily Chen ’07 and Jen A. Hipp ’04 notching hard-fought victories at 1, 2, 4, and 5, respectively. Junior Jaclyn E. Cichon lost her first set 6-2, and was down 0-3 in the second, but fought through many long points to win six consecutive games and the set. However, while the final number three singles victory ultimately went to Babson, Cichon fended off many break and match points to lose by merely one point in the third set.

Not easily disheartened, however, MIT confidently headed into its next match against Smith. The prior week of intense doubles practice paid off as MIT emerged from doubles victorious at 3-0. The doubles teams of Rayej/Konowich, Tien/Cichon, Hipp/Pai, and Elaine Ni ’06/MacKay all won decisively, losing merely 10 games out of the 32 total games played.

While singles was much tougher, the Lady Engineers pulled through. Rayej won her three-set match 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Tien had a similarly tough match, winning 6-4, 6-4. While Cichon and Chen set up solid attacks against their hard-hitting opponents, they lost at three and four, respectively. Hipp swept through her first set easily, with a win of 6-1. The second set proved to be much harder though, as she rallied offensively to a win of 7-5. Pai also had a tough match, but her focus and consistent shots came through to give her a close win of 6-4, 6-4, while Konowich and Ni breezed through to victory.

Next on the agenda were Clark and Springfield. Past encounters with Clark proved that the team was not threatening and this year was no different. The Lady Engineers easily swept through their matches losing only nine out of the 36 total games played that day. While Springfield was slightly tougher, MIT still dominated, emerging again with a final score of 9-0.

Last Tuesday, the ladies faced long time rival Wellesley College. Despite the fast and unpredictable Wellesley indoor courts, MIT edged past to win four singles matches and two doubles matches, with a final score of 6-3. Doubles started out intensely with passing shots, close calls, and aces on every side. Rayej/Konowich lost 8-1, but both Tien/Cichon and Pai/Hipp stormed their way to the net to win 8-5 and 8-1, respectively.

In singles action, Rayej played with a combination of power and finesse to win 6-1, 6-4. One court over, Tien was having difficulty putting away points and lost in a close 7-6, 1-6, 6-3 match. Cichon also had a tough time putting away the crucial games to lose 6-1, 7-5. However, Hipp, Pai, and Konowich stepped up to the competition to lose merely six out of their cumulative 36 games played at four, five, and six, respectively.

Next week, the Engineers will host Brandeis and Tufts on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.