The Mary Washington Women’s tennis team recently returned from the West Coast with a tan and a 2-0 record against a pair of solid Division III teams.
On March 6, the Eagles squared off with the University of California-Santa Cruz. The Banana Slugs were ranked 22nd while the Eagles ranked 23rd in Division III. The Eagles struggled in doubles play and only won one of the three matches. But What they lacked in doubles they made up for in singles. It was all knotted up at four sets apiece after victories by freshman Alex Ritter, senior Casey Malcolm and senior Jocelyn Lewis.
The entire match then fell on the back of sophomore Lindsay Raulston. After winning the first match she gave up the second. “I won the first set relatively easily and had a bunch of opportunities to close out the second but I just couldn’t seem to do it,” Raulston said.
She ended up clinching the third set 6-3 to win the match.
“Having the whole match on my shoulders were pretty intense, but with all of the cheering and support from my teammates and coaches somehow I pulled out the win,” Raulston said.
The team moved on to face Kenyon College two days later at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Kenyon proved to be no match for the Eagles, who possessed great confidence after the previous match. All three doubles pairs dismissed their opponents, yet only by two or three sets. Raultson and senior Michelle Meadows emerged 8-6, Malcolm and junior Cassie Bowman won 8-6, and Ritter and Lewis won 8-5. The team also won all of the singles matches except for one.
Playing on the West Coast turned out to be much different than Fredericksburg, Raulston said.
“One day it would be scorching hot and another day we’d be playing in 25 mph wind,” Raulston said. “It was an adjustment, but we managed to handle it pretty well.”
The UMW women’s tennis team should have no problem winning the Capital Athletic Conference. They have for the last 19 of the last 21 tournaments.
It is their goal to go further than conferences into nationals.
“We are all hoping to crack the top 20 in the national rankings and go on to win a few rounds in the NCAA tournament,” Raulston said.
These two games aren’t the only speed bumps the team will come to endure. Saying they have a tough schedule is an understatement.
They ladies will play 13th ranked Carnegie Melon, 8th ranked Washington and Lee, 18th ranked Wellesley College, 19th ranked the College of New Jersey and 11th ranked Johns Hopkins all before final exams.
The team will be in action again on Friday, March 16th when they take on conference foe Frostburg State University.