ROWLAND HEIGHTS, CA – On their first road match of spring break in 2019, the Williams College women's tennis team overcame the Sewanee tigers 7-2.
"Yesterday was a good building block – another brick added to our mindset for the season," said head coach Anik Cepeda. "I'm excited to watch this team get even sharper and stronger as the season goes on."
The Ephs' day began with 2:00 p.m. doubles that saw new pairings from the team for the spring season. Junior Chloe Henderson and first-year Julia Pham took an early lead in their match, racking up a 5-0 score over Tigers Ellie Czura and Catherine Owen. Senior co-captain Leah Bush and junior Sarah Yang also took an early lead, holding a consistent three-point lead over Sewanee duo Maura McCrary and Mary Jane McCaghren for most of their game.
Korina Neveux '19, the other senior co-captain, and her doubles partner Maxine Ng '22 were at first outpaced by Sewanee's Taylor Sprouse and Sarah Thompson, who held the Eph pairing at bay with a 1-point deficit for the first part of the match. But as teammates Bush and Yang scored their eighth point of the day, Neveux and Ng raced past their opponents to secure their lead at 6-5.
Henderson and Pham claimed Williams' first victory of the day with a 8-1 match. Over on court three, Bush and Yang fought down a comeback from Sewanee to win 8-6, while shortly afterward, Neveux and Ng defeated their rivals 8-5 to let Williams sweep the day's doubles matches 3-0.
With the stage set for a confident Williams, singles began for the day with six Williams players taking the courts. Henderson and Bush both raced ahead of their opponents, building up a three-point lead over the Sewanee players. Henderson was the first to finish a set, winning 6-1. She was closely followed by Neveux, who defeated her opponent 6-2 in her first set.
While Henderson and Neveux began their second sets of the day, three other Williams players held leads over their Sewanee opponents: Bush, Zheng, and Pham. Yang played a tough match, and lost a very close first set to Sewanee's Abby Vaughn.
She rebounded in her second set to take an early lead, buoyed by Henderson's first-set 6-1 victory over the Tigers' Thompson. Pham also took a 3-0 lead in her second set after winning her first, along with Bush, who won her first set 6-3 and was looking to once again defeat Sewanee's Owen for her second. Zheng, unfortunately, was forced to pull out her of second set due to an injury.
Henderson was the first Eph to win a singles match for the day, defeating Thompson 6-1 6-2. Following closely behind her were Bush, who won 6-3 6-3 and Pham, who won 6-2 6-1. It was a tough day for Yang, who was thwarted in her second set by Sewanee's Vaughn to lose 4-6 3-6 despite her early second-set lead.
But one Eph was not yet done – Neveux was still battling it out against Sewanee's Czura. While she had won her first set 6-3, Czura had narrowly defeated her in the second 6-7. The match went into an extensive tie-breaker, where Neveux saved many match points to win the third set tiebreaker 14-12 and hand Williams the day's win 7-2.
The Ephs will play Pomona College on March 20th at 9:30 am PST.