Yeowomen Fly Past Yellow Jackets, Cardinals
The women’s tennis team defended its home turf in style this weekend against the Baldwin Wallace University Yellow Jackets and the Otterbein University Cardinals, easily sweeping both teams with an impressive score of 9–0.
Catalyzed by an uncontested doubles performance by sophomore Mayada Audeh and senior Erin Johnson, Oberlin jumped to a quick 3–0 lead over Baldwin Wallace in the first match. The pair dominated at the number two lineup position, besting the Yellow Jackets’ Claire Watts and Mackenzie Donalson by a score of 8–0.
From there, the Yeowomen continued to stifle Baldwin Wallace in the singles portion of the match. Audeh, a native of Washington, D.C., cruised to a victory at the number one position in the lineup as she defeated Kelsey Blatt 6–0, 6–2 to continue her winning streak.
Sophomore Jackie McDermott added to the sophomore class’ supremacy on the court. Playing in the number four singles position, she crushed Mackenzie Donalson 6–0, 6–1. In the battle at the final lineup position, Oberlin junior Olivia Hay overtook Shannon Finkenthal 7–5, 6–1.
Audeh, who won North Coast Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week honors for her performance, said that while the competition wasn’t particularly challenging, it served as a good jumping-off point for the rest of the Yeowomen’s season.
“It was nice to play a team that wasn’t necessarily our level to see where we stand,” she said. “Last year we dropped a couple matches in the beginning of the season. But at the same time, it’s sometimes hard to get excited and get your feet moving for [a match like this].”
The Yeowomen started their second match of the day against Otterbein much like their first, wasting no time taking control of the doubles portion.
Rested sophomore Sarah Hughes — who sat out the match against Baldwin Wallace — joined junior Emma Brezel to knock off Otterbein’s Adrien Leatherwood and Rylie Markle 8–1. Likewise, senior Ariana Abayomi and Audeh took care of their opponents by an 8–0 margin.
Oberlin capped its day with a shutout in singles competition. Hughes was unrelenting against Otterbein’s Sophie Allen, winning 6–0, 6–0. West Virginia native McDermott was tested by Adrien Leatherwood in her first set, where she won by a narrow 6–4 margin. Still, she rallied to finish off her day on a high note, cruising to a win in the second set by a score of 6-1.
McDermott said her first performance of the spring season has shown significant physical improvements since her first year on the team.
“Its always a challenge for me in singles to control my mental game,” McDermott said. “But I think my physical game has improved significantly over [the] last year. I feel a lot faster, I think I’m serving harder, and I definitely feel a lot savvier than I did as a freshman.”
Head Coach Constantine Ananiadis said he was proud of his team’s impressive play in the match. He asserted that playing weaker teams like Baldwin Wallace and Otterbein is not the cakewalk the scoreboard would make it out to be.
“What impressed me the most is that we didn’t have any hiccups or loose sets or matches,” Coach Ananiadis said. “There’s always a risk of playing ‘down’ to your opponent’s level when you’re the better player [or] team, and to our credit, we didn’t do that at all.”
The women’s tennis team will look to extend its three-game winning streak as it takes on a doubleheader this weekend against Indiana University of Pennsylvania on their home turf on Friday and Denison University in Granville, Ohio, Sunday.