The team competed in New Hampshire with help from the freshmen.
In the opening weekend for the women’s tennis team, the Owls got a huge contribution from unexpected sources.
In a loss to Dartmouth on Saturday and a win against Southern New Hampshire on Sunday, the women’s tennis freshman trio of singles/doubles players Jordan Batey, Alicia Doms and Yana Mavrina went 6-2 to lead the Owls in their season-opening weekend.
“We have high expectations for the freshmen,” coach Steve Mauro said. “It’s going to take them a little time to get used to the college game, but we expect them to play regularly for us.”
The Owls dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 61 Dartmouth on Saturday. Mavrina and Doms provided the only doubles win as they defeated the Big Green pair of freshman Rachel Decker-Sadowski and sophomore Sarah Leonard in the lone set, 8-6.
“Every year Dartmouth is a real strong opponent,” Mauro said. “I knew we had a good chance to win. Doubles [were] close. We could have pulled out the match, but unfortunately Dartmouth was just a little bit stronger at this time of year.”
Batey shined in singles play as she defeated Big Green senior Georgiana Smyser in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Senior singles/doubles player Elyse Steiner got the other point for the Owls, defeating Dartmouth freshman Sabrina Stewart 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. It was Steiner’s first match in more than a year, as she was recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“I was very impressed with [Steiner],” Mauro said. “She had a really good performance.”
Owls senior first singles player Lucie Pazderova had a tough time against the nationally ranked Big Green senior first singles player Molly Scott. Scott won 6-1, 6-1.
Pazderova and Steiner lost in second doubles to Big Green senior Ryan Reichel and Smyser 8-2. Owls senior Theresa Stangl and Batey lost in first doubles to Big Green freshman Melissa Matsuoka and Scott, 8-1. Dartmouth won the doubles point and added four singles wins to get the decision, 5-2.
“We definitely have to improve in both singles and doubles; it’s just a matter of getting more practice time in,” Mauro said. “If we played them a month from now I think the results would be different.”
The freshmen continued their strong play on Sunday in a 7-0 win against Southern New Hampshire while Pazderova sat out due to a back injury.
Mavrina, Batey and Doms collected wins for the Owls in second, fourth and fifth singles, respectively. Mavrina and Doms won at second doubles to complete a perfect record for the freshmen.
“Our freshmen are just strong players,” Mauro said. “A lot of times, they come in and have to take some time to develop, but we just did a good job recruiting good players and good student athletes.”
Stangl defeated Penmen senior Amber Chandronnait at first singles 6-3, 6-3. Steiner edged Penmen senior Catalina Echeverry 7-6, 7-2, 7-5 in a close match at third singles. Owls senior Josephine Bergman won her 2011 debut at sixth singles 6-0, 6-1 over Penmen junior Kara Pease.
Steiner and Pazderova won first doubles, 8-5, and Bergman and junior Mellana Cramer won third doubles, 8-1, to give the Owls the doubles point and complete the 7-0 sweep.
“[Southern New Hampshire] wasn’t quite as strong as Dartmouth, yet they did have some good players,” Mauro said. “We beat them last year, so we were pretty confident.”
In addition to the dominance over Southern New Hampshire, Mauro maintains the match against Dartmouth is not representative of the team’s potential.
“We’ve only been practicing since a couple of days before school started, we weren’t allowed to practice over break,” Mauro said. “We haven’t really had that much time to prepare.”
With the promising talent of the Owls’ freshmen and the opportunity for more practice experience in the upcoming weeks, the women’s tennis team’s future looks promising.
“We’re confident,” Mauro said. “We think we could’ve beaten Dartmouth and they’re a very strong team. We’re very optimistic about our upcoming matches. We feel that there’s no one left on the schedule that we can’t beat.”
Joseph Cranney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.