The women’s tennis team, ranked 23rd in the nation, decisively defeated New York University 8-1 in the first ever meeting between the two teams on Saturday. While the score may seem one-sided, the Lady Engineers still had to fight back from deficits in several of its matches.
With the annual Campus Preview Weekend (accompanied by the usual warm weather and clear skies) serving as a backdrop for the match, the doubles teams took to the courts. At three doubles, Melissa A. Diskin ’11 and Karina N. Pikhart ’09 pulled off a quick victory, winning 8-2. Meanwhile, the one doubles match started off a bit slow, as Leslie A. Hansen ’10 and Mariah N. Hoover ’08 battled a strong opponent with solid serving. By staying aggressive throughout the match, the pair eventually pulled through and played really well together, winning the match with an 8-4 finish.
MIT’s first comeback of the day came at two doubles, where Anisa K. McCree ’10 and Yi Wang ’09 battled in a long, close match. Though still on serve, the pair was down a game at each changeover. Down 6-5, they knew that losing the next game would allow NYU to serve for the set. At that point, there was a bit of a transition of nerves. Wang commented, “We were tight at first, but then we became more relaxed and swung out.”
McCree held serve, and then MIT broke NYU’s serve, giving them the lead for the first time in the match, 7-6. Wang held serve once more for MIT to finish off the match 8-6. “We were more aggressive, particularly at the net,” said Wang, explaining how the momentum shifted in the match. Wang and McCree also took advantage of their opponents tightening up and going for too much as the match wore on.
This ended the doubles, with the Engineers leading overall at 3-0.
The singles matches featured more excitement and comebacks, as inclement weather forced the match indoors, causing some delay.
At two singles, Hoover quickly finished the first set 6-2, but then fell behind in the second set 4-1. “In the first set, my opponent came out hitting hard, but she missed a lot [of shots],” said Hoover. “Then in the second set, she started getting a lot more in. But then [Coach] Carol came and talked to me, and we got things worked out.” Worked out indeed, as Hoover didn’t drop another game for the rest of her match, finishing 6-2, 6-4. Her five game streak also persisted through the coming rain, which interrupted her second set at 4-4.
The next match to finish indoors was Hansen at the one singles position, who lost an unexplainable first set 4-6. She followed it with a decisive 6-0, 6-2 comeback.
Diskin followed her at three singles, falling behind in the first set before coming back for a close 7-5 win. She then claimed victory with a quick 6-1 second set.
Wang followed at four singles with a 6-4, 6-2 win. Reflecting on her match, Wang said, “I was never behind in the match, but sometimes I got far ahead and then I would loosen up a bit and she would get a few games.” This happened in her second set, when her initial 5-0 lead turned into 5-2 before she was able to close the match. Her finish brought the overall score to 7-0.
Jenny C. Dohlman ’11 played in her first match that counted for the team score on Saturday at the six singles position. Although she dropped the first set 6-0, she turned things around in the second, fighting a much closer battle to get to 3-3 before losing 6-4.
Playing next to her, McCree also dropped a quick first set 6-1 at five singles. Her second set wasn’t looking too good either, when the score quickly reached 5-1. Refusing to quit, McCree stepped things up, capturing six straight games to win the set 7-5 in a remarkable comeback that was paused by the onset of rain. After waiting a while to get back onto the court, she rode her momentum to a 6-2 win in the final set.
The Engineers will play their final two regular season matches this weekend at Skidmore College on Saturday and Vassar College on Sunday.