Although women’s tennis had high hopes to get back on the postseason track, its expectations were brought down by some recent agonizingly close matches and disappointing injuries.
After wrapping up last weekend’s Midwest Invite with a fifth-place finish, the 24th-ranked Maroons (8–7) looked to improve their chances of playoff contention with their match against 22nd-ranked Wheaton (17–0). Though regionally ranked one spot ahead of the undefeated, fifth-ranked Thunder, the Maroons were unable to taint their opponent’s perfect season and fell Tuesday 6–3.
“I’m very happy with the way our girls are playing right now. Although we’ve lost a couple of close matches recently, it’s not because we’re not playing hard,” Perry said. “Their attitude is good, and we have a lot of confidence in pulling together for the UAA tournament.”
While their wins last weekend along with the team’s overall regional record of 7–3 do keep playoff hopes alive, the Maroons have only a single opponent left before heading into the league championships and then battling with the rest of the region for one of the seven postseason spots.
The Maroons had chances to pull out both first and third doubles matches, but their hopes of starting off the night with a sweep were shattered as the pairing of first-year Marissa Lin and second-year Vindya Dayananda (10–8) ended in a 9–7 loss, but fourth-year Ade Omodele-Lucien and second-year Anuja Parikh (14–4) held off their foes with an 8–6 triumph. Unfortunately, first-year Justine Kentla and third-year Michele Parad (7–8) also fell to Wheaton’s undefeated tandem of Shannon Hale and Brooke Parish (4–0) 9–8.
After the squad’s disappointing 1–2 start, Lin came out thirsty for success at first singles, taking on Wheaton’s Jordan Hook (17–0), who has lost only one college match in two years. The rookie nearly pulled off the win but couldn’t break serve in the second set.
“I believe this shows that Marissa has the skill to beat almost anyone in the country as a first-year,” head coach Marty Perry said.
Dayananda (14–6) put up another victory for the Maroons at second singles with a crushing 6–1 win over Wheaton’s undefeated first-year Christin Thompson (8–1). This overpowering effort was overshadowed, however, when Omodele-Lucien suffered a pulled leg muscle during the second game of her first set.
Though Omodele-Lucien led her match early, the injury forced her to take multiple timeouts, which greatly affected her performance both physically and mentally.
The Maroons will take on Augustana (9–9) at Stagg in their last match before UAAs. A win against the Vikings would help sustain playoff dreams and perhaps initiate a repeat of last year’s success in postseason play.