The Engineers pulled out a solid victory over Trinity University on Saturday, leaving with a 7-2 win. A record number of fans were in attendance at the J.B. Carr indoor tennis bubble to cheer them on to their win, including President Susan Hockfield and her husband, Thomas Byrne.
The match opened with doubles play, and the second doubles team of Anisa K. McCree ’10 and Yi Wang ’09 recorded the first point with a decisive 8-2 win. Although all of Trinity’s doubles teams used a special I-formation on their service games, this did not phase McCree and Wang en route to a one-sided victory in their third match together.
Meanwhile, in the third doubles slot, Melissa A. Diskin ’11 and Karina N. Pikhart ’09 were struggling in a close match. The match was even until after the fourth changeover, when Trinity led 4-3, but the Engineers’ serves were broken twice in an 8-3 loss. Assistant Coach Pedro Pinto remarked that despite the big lead indicated by the score, each game was very close, and Diskin and Pikhart were just unable to capture the important points during those close games.
Finally, Leslie A. Hansen ’10 and Mariah N. Hoover ’08 earned a tough 8-6 win at first doubles, putting the Engineers ahead 2-1 overall. The entire game was neck and neck, and the Bantams were even ahead at times. Hansen and Hoover stuck it out, however, with Hansen putting away the final shot of the doubles play.
In singles, Hansen started off in the top slot with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Brenna Driscoll. Hansen commented that the win was not easy, as her opponent hit with a lot of pace and was “moving [her] around [the court] a lot.” In the second singles position, Hoover struggled through her first set, losing 6-3 to Amanda Tramont, who in Hoover’s words “came out swinging.” During her break between sets, Hoover said that she reassessed her game and then “killed [Tramont] in the next two sets,” pulling out a final score of 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
At the third singles position, Diskin lost 6-3, 6-4 to Sarah Gould, though she played well in the loss. The second set was a very close fight, as Diskin was ahead 4-3 and returning serve with a score of 15-40, but her opponent denied her both break point opportunities and eventually held serve.
Next to Diskin, in the fourth slot, Wang played an incredible match against Arielle Leben that earned her the MVP-of-the-Day award from Head Coach Carol Matsuzaki. Her strong, smart play earned her a final singles score of 6-1, 6-2, meaning that she only gave the Bantams five games overall between her singles and doubles play.
At number five singles, McCree played a close and long match that resulted in a 6-4, 7-6 (5) win. “It’s the best I’ve played in a while,” McCree said, commenting that each of her really long points reminded her of the classic “butterfly drill” in tennis where two players alternate hitting down the line and crosscourt such that they are constantly running back and forth along the baseline.
McCree’s match was “streaky,” she said, where she would win several games in a row, and then her opponent would do the same. This showed in her first set when her 5-2 lead turned into 5-4 before she finished it off, 6-4. It happened again in the second set, where she started off losing the first three games before coming back and ultimately winning in a second-set tiebreaker.
Finally, at sixth singles, Pikhart defeated Sydney Meckler in a three-set affair that ended in a 10-point tiebreaker, 6-2, 3-6, 11-9. Matsuzaki commented that her game was “precise,” and assistant coach Kat Pick attributed a number of unforced errors to her second-set loss. In the final 10-point tiebreaker, Pikhart faced two match points, trailing 9-7, but she reeled off four straight points to finish the match.
In exhibition play, MIT faced three tough eight-game pro sets. Katherine M. Smyth ’10 and Jennifer A. Rees ’11 lost in the fourth doubles position by a score of 8-5. At seventh singles, Kerry R. Weinberg ’10 lost 8-0, and Emma M. Rosen ’11 lost in a tiebreaker at eighth singles by a score of 9-8 (7).
MIT resumes play against New York University on Saturday, April 12 in a home match at 2:30 p.m.