CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Ephs concluded the second, west-coast half of their seven-match spring break trip with a dual against the fifth-ranked Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer. Though the Sagehens collected more points on this occasion than they managed three years ago in the two sides' last meeting - won 8-1 by the Ephs - they still did not have enough to upset the visiting Ephs, who bounced back from their loss to neighboring Claremont-Mudd-Scripps with a 6-3 win on Friday afternoon in their final preparation before NESCAC play restarts
The Ephs may not have been the first off the mark in the doubles portion, but they managed to grab the latter two points to take the 2-1 advantage into singles play.
The players on Court 2 were first off, and the Sagehens' representatives, Caroline Capser and Arianna Chen, took an early lead against the likes of Mia Gancayco and Leah Bush, then the Sagehen duo never looked back, cruising to a comfortable 8-1 finish.
In response, the Ephs had a similarly comfortable victory at the number three position, thanks to the effort of Julia Cancio and her first-year partner, Emily Zheng. The Ephs notched an 8-3 win over Grace Hruska and Joy Kim to level the overall dual score with one point apiece.
Down to the third and final point to determine who would take the advantage into singles, the match on Court 1 did not disappoint. The Eph pairing of Hannah Atkinson and Chloe Henderson squared off against Maryann Zhao and Emily Chen, and 16 games were not enough to determine a winner, requiring an 8-all tiebreaker. Although the set had been close, the Ephs asserted their dominance in the tiebreaker, and finished off the final doubles match in favor of the purple and gold by a 7-3 margin.
The Ephs took their doubles momentum into singles, and clinically finished off the home team, before they had a chance to make the match interesting, securing the first three singles matches off the court to clinch the overall dual.
All three of those initial singles wins came from the lower-half of the lineup, as Gancayco, Cancio, and Atkinson all conjured wins on Courts 4, 5, and 6 respectively.
Gancayco's win came first, and was a dominant showing by the Eph #4, who lost only two games en route to her straight-set 6-0, 6-2 score-line. Next off the court was Cancio, who followed up her quick 6-2 first set against Kim with a 6-3 second set, before the clinching point came courtesy of Atkinson, who dismissed Emily Chen with a pair of 6-2 sets to clinch the match for the visitors.
With three matches still to be finished on the court, neither the Ephs nor the Sagehens were done.
Zhao and Sydney Myong played out a tightly contested match on Court 2, with the Sagehen junior outlasting the Eph first-year in the first set 7-5, before the San Diego native claimed a comfortable 6-1 second set to ensure the Sagehens would not be blanked in singles
The remaining two matches both required three sets to determine a winner, and the two teams split the spoils, as Casper got the better of Bush on Court 1 in a match-tiebreaker played in lieu of a third set, while Linda Shin reversed the Ephs' fortunes in the same manner against Arianna Chen on Court 3.
Shin's match was the first to be decided, as the Eph senior and co-captain started slowly in her match, losing the first set 6-1, before coming to life in the second set to a level the match at one set apiece with a 6-4 win. Capitalizing on her momentum from the second set in the match-tiebreaker, the Atlanta, Georgia native battled out a brutal 14-12 win to give the Ephs their sixth point of the afternoon.
With the final point still yet to be determined, the players representing both sides played as if it would decide the dual. After succumbing to Casper in the first set, 6-4, Bush dug herself in during the second set, grinding out a 7-6 score-line, which she orchestrated with a 7-4 win in the 6-all tiebreaker. The Eph sophomore was not as fortunate in the third-set match-tiebreaker, however, as the #1 Sagehen refused to lose two tiebreakers in one match, engineering a 10-6 win to earn the Californians their third point and concluding the dual, 6-3.
After the match, Eph head coach Alison Swain had nothing but praise for her team's overall performance, noting the team chemistry her women have developed during their spring break training trip as the key: "We competed so well as a team today. The unity and determination made the difference in our match today for us."
After the win, the Ephs return to New England to reignite their NESCAC play next weekend, after a two-week journey on both the east and west coasts. The Ephs are set to travel to both Middlebury and Wesleyan in their first fully fledged NESCAC weekend of the season. They make the trip north into Vermont to face off against the Panthers next Saturday, with the match set to start at 2 PM EDT.
Williams 6, Pomona-Pitzer 3
- Casper, Caroline (PP) def. Bush, Leah (WILLIAMS) 6-4, 6-7(4), 1-0(6)
- Zhao, Maryann (PP) def. Myong, Sydney (WILLIAMS) 7-5, 6-1
- Shin, Linda (WILLIAMS) def. Chen, Arianna (PP) 1-6, 6-4, 1-0(12)
- Gancayco, Mia (WILLIAMS) def. Coyiuto, Mae (PP) 6-0, 6-2
- Cancio, Julia (WILLIAMS) def. Kim, Joy (PP) 6-2, 6-3
- Atkinson, Hannah (WILLIAMS) def. Chen, Emily (PP) 6-2, 6-2
- Atkinson, Hannah/Henderson, Chloe (WILLIAMS) def. Chen, Emily/Zhao, Maryann (PP) 9-8(3)
- Casper, Caroline/Chen, Arianna (PP) def. Bush, Leah/Gancayco, Mia (WILLIAMS) 8-1
- Cancio, Julia/Zheng, Emily (WILLIAMS) def. Hruska, Grace/Kim, Joy (PP) 8-3
Order of Finish:
Doubles - 2, 3, 1
Singles - 4, 5, 6, 2, 3, 1
Williams: 7-3, nationally ranked #3, regionally ranked #1 (Northeast)
Pomona-Pitzer: 10-5, nationally ranked #5, regionally ranked #2 (West)