Yeowomen Fall to Strong Competition

Lillian Jahan

Over spring break, the women’s tennis team headed to Hilton Head, SC, and Fredericksburg, VA, where they played five matches, dropping all of them.

It was one of the toughest sets of teams the program has faced in a long time. Although they did not come away with any team victories, the experiences the Yeowomen gained throughout the week of competition were valuable.

“We knew we’d have our work cut out for us, playing five top-30 teams in a row, including the No. 1 team in the nation,” Head Coach Constantine Ananiadis said. “But we didn’t drive 2,000 miles to play teams that wouldn’t challenge us. We wouldn’t have it any other way. So overall, although we didn’t win any team matches, we proved to everyone — and more importantly, to ourselves — that we’re only a few shots, a few points away from climbing back into the top 30 teams in the country.”

To start off their week, the Yeowomen faced the 28th– ranked Carleton College Knights in Hilton Head.

In doubles, the Yeowomen took a 2–1 lead as the No. 1 duo of junior Grace Porter and first-year Emma Brezel, while No. 2 duo of senior Brenna Sheldon and sophomore Erin Johnson both won 8–3. In singles, Carleton turned the tide of the matchup, though at the No. 5 singles match, sophomore Ariana Abayomi battled and came out on top with a 6–3, 1–6, 10–6 win, giving the team its sole singles win. Ultimately, the team fell 4–5 to the Knights.

In the following match, the Yeowomen fell to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks 1–8, with Abayomi again winning her singles match.

The team then headed to Fredericksburg to play the No. 1–ranked Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays. Once again, the Yeowomen fought tooth and nail, but were ultimately defeated 1–8. For the second match in a row, Abayomi was able to give Oberlin its lone point, winning her singles match 3–6, 6–3, 12–10.

“After several hours, I was able to pull out the win, though [my opponent] did not give me an inch,” Abayomi said. “That was without a doubt the most difficult match I played all break — maybe in my whole college career thus far.”

The team finished its tough break with losses against the University of Mary Washington and Skidmore College. Though the trip wasn’t a successful one as far as the win-loss column is concerned, there was still a lot learned.

“This was by far the hardest string of five teams in a row I’ve seen since I’ve been at Oberlin,” said Sheldon. “We can definitely play with these girls, but we aren’t used to it. You really can’t learn how to compete at this level without facing this type of opponent. So while many girls had a painful week of losses, I know that it will pay off in the future. We have plenty more tough matches to go, and I think this past week motivated us all to practice hard and well.”

The Yeowomen will travel to Wittenberg University on Saturday, April 5, before returning home to host Kalamazoo College at 9 a.m. the following day.