March 10, 2003

Lady Netters Drop to UMBC, Beat UMass

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The women’s tennis team began yesterday with a match against long-time opponent UMBC, a match it readily expected to win. Things, however, did not go as planned, and the girls took a loss for the first time in several years, 4-3.

In an attempt to give experience to his younger players, head coach Tom Brownlie ’98 moved his No. 1 singles player, sophomore Akane Kokubo, out of the lineup and bumped the rest of the squad up a notch, allowing freshman Kara Maloy to fit into the sixth singles spot. The plan seemed sound with three victories at doubles, but went awry when only two singles players, sophomore Erika Takeuchi and junior Kate Sternberg, claimed victory.

“We often do this to give more players an opportunity to compete,” said Brownlie. “But it was a rather tough loss, and those who lost didn’t play the best matches of their lives.”

The disheartening loss didn’t stop the Red from coming back to win over UMass. Although the women were unable to gain the point for doubles, Takeuchi and sophomore Melissa Tu won their fourth straight doubles match. Their victory was followed by solid performances by seniors Nicole Chiu and Piper Lucas, decisively defeating their opponents in the fourth and fifth positions, respectively. Takeuchi came back to win her third game of the day in the third spot in an excellent performance, according to Brownlie.

Junior Laura Leigh Tallent put the finishing touches on UMass in a tight third set victory.

“Laura clinched the match for us,” said Brownlie, “by bringing her match to a third set and wearing her opponent down until she finally had to default from problems with shin splints at 5-2 in the third set.

“She was clearly on her way to winning and played one of her best matches of the season. She played an aggressive but poised style that her opponent could not handle,” Brownlie concluded.

Brownlie and the team were slightly disappointed that they couldn’t notch two more wins for their record, but the coach was positive that the girls were able to learn from their mistakes.

The women next take up their rackets in sunny Florida for a three day tournament against Rutgers, Barry, and Florida Atlantic over break, and will return on March 28 to face off against rival Columbia.

Archived article by Josh Dormont