Yeowomen Seek NCAC Title After Win
The women’s tennis team finished its regular season on Saturday, taking a win from the Allegheny College Gators in commanding fashion and ending the day with a score of 7–2.
The Yeowomen enter the postseason in fourth place after going 12–9 in the regular season and 2–1 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
In doubles matches, the Yeowomen initially struggled to find their footing, with junior Emma Brezel and sophomore Sarah Hughes going down 8–6 in a tough battle in the No. 1 match.
The Yeowomen’s fortunes improved in the next two matches. Sophomores Mayada Audeh and Jackie McDermott won the No. 2 doubles match 8–3. Senior Ariana Abayomi and junior Olivia Hay dismantled the Gators in the No. 3 match 8–0.
The No. 1 singles match was a tough one for Audeh, as it opened with her and opponent Mikaela Pope splitting the first two sets. Audeh took the first set 6–3, but Pope defended herself and reversed the scores in the second match, winning 6–3. Audeh put up a hard fight in the third set, extending it into a grueling battle, but she ultimately lost the match when Pope edged her out 17–15.
However, Pope’s victory proved to be the only one Allegheny would see in singles competition. Hughes took the No. 2 match, eliminating opponent Andrea Brush in only two sets with victories of 6–1 in each. Allegheny’s Michaela Thompson gave Brezel some trouble in the No. 3 match, forcing her to fight for a narrow victory of 6–4. But Brezel took control in the second set and defeated her opponent 6–1 to rack up another Yeowomen victory.
Abayomi defeated her opponent in the fourth spot by taking two wins of 6–0 and 6–3. McDermott and senior Erin Johnson maintained the team’s momentum to conclude singles play, with neither one allowing their opponent to score more than three points in any set.
Abayomi said the challenging Gators kept the Yeowomen on their toes and prepared them well for competing against powerful conference teams in the NCAC tournament.
“We were trying to maintain our high level of play while dealing with an extremely scrappy team,” Abayomi said. “Our focus was to be levelheaded and persistent no matter what, because if we let up for even a little bit, Allegheny would have the chance to win.”
Coach Constantine Ananiadis wants his players to maintain their focus. The Yeowomen are ranked ninth regionally, and Ananiadis believes the team can take advantage of an even distribution of talent in conference to climb the ranks.
“We have a pretty good chance of going deep into the tournament this year,” Ananiadis said. “The top four or five teams are all pretty close in level, and there is no clear [or] dominant number one.”
Ananiadis also sees securing early wins this weekend as central to the Yeowomen’s future success in the conference tournament.
“Our quarterfinals are going to be really tough if we do not play tough against [Ohio Wesleyan University] on Friday,” he said. “We have been playing well, peaking at the right time — good depth, good singles, good doubles. Anything can happen this weekend.”
The Yeowomen will be at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, this weekend, hoping to return with a NCAC Championship title. Their first match-up is against Ohio Wesleyan today at 4 p.m.