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Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022

Women’s Tennis Concludes Undefeated NESCAC Home Weekend

<span class="photocreditinline"><a href="">MICHAEL BORENSTEIN</a></span><br />Heather Boehm ’20, beloved sports editor, crushes it on home courts despite a windy weekend.
Heather Boehm ’20, beloved sports editor, crushes it on home courts despite a windy weekend.

It was another big weekend for the No. 3 ranked Middlebury women’s tennis team, as they eased past No. 8 Tufts (7-2) on Saturday and No. 9 Williams (7-2) on Sunday at home on the Proctor Tennis Courts.

On Saturday morning, clear skies and 70-degree weather drew an array of spectators to the courts as the team played their first outdoor home match of the season. To kick things off, the Panthers grabbed two out of three points against the Jumbos during doubles play. At the No. 2 spot, the junior duo of Katherine Hughes and Skylar Schossberger blanked Anna Lowy and Nicole Frankel, after which Christina Puccinelli ’19 and Maddi Stow ’20 doubled the lead with an 8-2 triumph over Tomo Iwasaki and Patricia Obeid.

Of course, playing outdoors again for the first time came with challenges of its own. For one thing, the Panthers had to ease into the slower-paced ball and longer points that distinguish outdoor play from the fast-paced play of indoor hard courts. Moving forward, sophomore Emily Bian says that “incorporating more slices and lobs to change up the points” will be crucial to adjusting accordingly. The wind also proved to be an obstacle, but nothing that the Panthers couldn’t handle.

“It was a little tricky at first with the wind, but I believe we all embraced the challenge,” Hughes said, as the team was ultimately able to persevere through the weather conditions. 

In singles play, Schossberger swung past Carolin Garrido 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 4 spot, while Heather Boehm ’20 posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Iwasaki in the top flight. At the No. 3 spot, Puccinelli edged past Obeid 7-6 (2), 6-4, while Stow secured a 6-1, 6-4 win against Frankel in the fifth spot. Bian sealed the Panthers’ victory as she clinched the team’s fifth point with a 6-3, 6-0 win against Kiara Rose at the bottom of the singles lineup.

Ann Martin Skelly ’21 sprints toward the net with determination.

The women’s tennis team increased their winning streak to five on Sunday morning against Williams, getting a sweet taste of revenge after falling to them last year during the season and in the NESCAC finals. During doubles play, the Panthers once again took two of the three points, as Hughes and Shossberger edged Emily Zheng and Korina Neveux 8-6 at the No. 2 spot. In the top position, the powerhouse duo of Boehm and Ann Martin Skelly ’21 posted an 8-4 victory against Leah Bush and Julia Pham.

In singles, the Panthers advanced to a 3-1 lead when Hughes clinched a 6-2, 6-0 win against Chloe Henderson at the No. 2 spot. In the fourth flight, the Ephs closed in with a straight set win to make the score 3-2, to which Middlebury responded by taking the final four singles matches to finish. Puccinelli sweeped Neveux 6-1, 6-1 in the third spot, while Boehm cruised past Bush 6-3, 6-2 at the top of the lineup. At the No. 5 spot, Stowe put up quite the fight after dropping the opening set, coming back to win the match 1-6, 6-4, 10-3 against Pham. Bian rounded out the scoring at No. 6 with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph against Maxine Ng to secure the Panthers’ 7-2 victory.

“This weekend was a great weekend for MWT,” Bain said. “We really showcased our grit, resilience and competitive spirit this weekend. Tufts and Williams are a loud and skillful team, but we came out swinging, executed our strategy and the score took care of itself.”

The Panthers will travel to No. 6 Bowdoin next Saturday for a 9:30 a.m. faceoff, before driving to Bates that afternoon for a 3:30 p.m. match.