The women’s tennis team had another strong meet versus Kenyon College last weekend. The ladies are 3-0 so far in the spring season as they gear up for a road trip down south this weekend.
The team won seven matches during the meet, only dropping three sets on the way to victory. However, many sets were fiercely contested showing the continued fitness of the Spartan ladies to maintain a high level of play during long matches. Doubles play once again proved to be a strong factor in the Spartans’ play, with the Case team winning two of the three matches.
The teams of Taylor Sweeney/Michelle Djohan and Sara Zargham/Jennifer Lowe both won their matchups with scores of 8-2 and 8-6, respectively. The only doubles team that wasn’t able to find success was Surya Khadilkar/Sarah Berchuck who forced a tie-breaking set at 8-8 before eventually falling to the top-ranked Kenyon team.
With doubles matches going first in the day, the two schools were tied heading into the individual match between Sweeney and Kenyon’s Jenna Murray. The two ladies were evenly matched, forcing the first set to seven points with Sweeney pulling through with a margin of victory of only two points in both sets to win the match. The momentum of the hard-fought win brought the team to a whole new level. The Spartans didn’t lose another match that day.
The strong mental focus of the team was an advantage during the more competitive portions of the meet. Head coach Kirsten Gambrell was impressed with the level of toughness shown by the young players. “During the doubles match that we lost 9-8, we really tried to get momentum going and just couldn’t make it happen. After that we went onto singles and played really strong. Everyone showed a lot of maturity and we didn’t let it bother us. We definitely rose to the occasion,” said Gambrell.
The team will receive their first big challenge this weekend as they travel to Georgia to take on Emory University on Saturday and then the University of Sewanee on Sunday. The road trip has been looming over the team’s schedule; so far they’ve faced off against opponents that are ranked lower than the No. 25 Case team. Emory won the University Athletics Association championship last year and Sewanee is currently enjoying a No. 15 rank nationally.
Gambrell is excited to see how the team handles the pressure and the higher level of competition. “We’ve played three good teams so far, but we’ll be at another level this weekend. It’ll be a good opportunity to see where we are against teams ranked a little higher than us nationally.”
She is looking for the ladies to continue their trend of mental toughness and aggressive play to earn the respect of these tough opponents. “Even if we don’t win, I want us to compete hard and stand up next to two higher ranked teams. It’ll be good to see everything we’ve worked on come together.”