FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - The Ephs started their spring break just as they did last season, with a trip to the University of Mary Washington, where they will play three matches in the three days, the first of which came Saturday against Washington and Lee. In the previous five seasons, the Ephs have faced off against the Generals three times, and the Ephs made it four wins in six years, bypassing the Virginia team 7-2 on the day.
The Ephs relied on another strong doubles performance to propel them to victory, claiming two of the three possible points to give them the advantage going into singles.
The Ephs continued their streak of claiming the first point off the court, thanks to the industrious work of Julia Cancio and Emily Zheng on Court 3. They burst out to win the first seven games of the match, and eventually claimed an 8-1 victory, before the Generals leveled the dual score shortly thereafter, as the number-two pairing of Michelle Fleenor and Lauren Hassell were too much for Eph veteran Linda Shin, paired with new-blood Sydney Myong, falling to the Generals by an 8-4 margin.
The decisive doubles point fell to the number one position, where Hannah Atkinson and Chloe Henderson squared off against Brooke Donnelly and Tessa Hill. Although the Ephs had the upper hand in the early-goings, leading 5-3, the Generals fought back well to force a 7-all tiebreaker to decide who would have the advantage going into singles. With such a crucial point on the line, the experience of Atkinson may have been the difference, as the senior and her partner, Henderson, took the tiebreaker, 7-3.
In the singles portion, Shin proved to be more than reliable, cruising to a 6-2, 6-0 win at the number two position over Hill to double the Ephs' advantage.
The match on Court 1, however, was much more competitive. Donnelly took a quick first set off Leah Bush, 6-2, before Bush came charging back in the second set, flipping the score-line in her advantage to force her third three-setter in as many matches this spring season. This time, however, the Eph sophomore could not overcome a first-set loss, as she ran out of steam at 3-3 in the final set, dropping the next three games to lose the deciding set 6-3, allowing Donnelly to draw the Generals again to within one of the Ephs, 3-2 in the overall score.
Meanwhile at the number four position, beginning after Shin's victory over Hill, Mia Gancayco used her senior teammate's second set as an inspiration, rattling off a perfect twelve games against her opponent, Hannah Archer, 6-0, 6-0.
Now within only one point of clinching the dual, the match on Court 3 proved to be the decisive one for the Ephs, as Atkinson took the court against Fleenor. The two traded blows in the first set all the way to a first-set tiebreaker, where the Eph senior proved to be tougher than the General junior, prevailing 7-5 to take the first set. The second set was more of the same, as neither player could solidify an advantage over the other, and the two fought their way to a tiebreaker, just like in the first, and just like in the first, Atkinson emerged victorious in her third and final tiebreaker of the afternoon, this time by a 7-4 difference, clinching the match for the Ephs in the process.
"We battled really well in the match today," commented Eph head coach Alison Swain after the match. "We are thrilled about a win against such a strong team, and since we also played no ad scoring, I thought we showed our toughness in the pressure points."
On the remaining two courts, the purple and gold finished off the blue and white with two 6-3, 6-1 triumphs courtesy of Henderson and Zheng on Courts 5 and 6 respectively.
After the win, the Ephs have a fast turn-around to tomorrow morning, when they will take on Trinity University, again at the neutral site of the University of Mary Washington. That dual is set to get underway at 9 AM EDT.
Williams 7, Washington & Lee 2
- Donnelly, Brooke (W&L) def. Bush, Leah (WILLIAMS) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
- Shin, Linda (WILLIAMS) def. Hill, Tessa (W&L) 6-2, 6-0
- Atkinson, Hannah (WILLIAMS) def. Fleenor, Michelle (W&L) 7-6(5), 7-6(4)
- Gancayco, Mia (WILLIAMS) def. Archer, Hannah (W&L) 6-0, 6-0
- Henderson, Chloe (WILLIAMS) def. McNeal, Mary Hampton (W&L) 6-3, 6-1
- Zheng, Emily (WILLIAMS) def. Kochard, Emily (W&L) 6-3, 6-1
- Atkinson, Hannah/Henderson, Chloe (WILLIAMS) def. Donnelly, Brooke/Hill, Tessa (W&L) 8-7(3)
- Fleenor, Michelle/Hassell, Lauren (W&L) def. Myong, Sydney/Shin, Linda (WILLIAMS) 8-4
- Cancio, Julia/Zheng, Emily (WILLIAMS) def. Horsley, Lily/Kochard, Emily (W&L) 8-
Order of Finish:
Singles - 2, 1, 4, 3, 5, 6
Doubles - 3, 2, 1
Williams: 4-0, nationally ranked #2, regionally ranked #1 (Northeast)
Washington & Lee: 10-2, nationally ranked #16, regionally ranked #6 (Atlantic South)