Yeowomen Head to NCAC Tournament

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Yeowomen Head to NCAC Tournament

Junior Grace Porter prepares to hit the ball in a recent match at home. Her strong play has helped the Yeowomen to seven straight victories.

Junior Grace Porter prepares to hit the ball in a recent match at home. Her strong play has helped the Yeowomen to seven straight victories.

Junior Grace Porter prepares to hit the ball in a recent match at home. Her strong play has helped the Yeowomen to seven straight victories.

Junior Grace Porter prepares to hit the ball in a recent match at home. Her strong play has helped the Yeowomen to seven straight victories.

Michaela Puterbaugh

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The women’s tennis team won its seventh consecutive match last Saturday when it beat the Allegheny College Gators 7–2, advancing its conference record to a perfect 3–0. This victory pushed the team’s regular season record to 11–8 overall. Its next match will come in the first round of the NCAC tournament.

“I’d attribute our recent success against conference teams to the hard work we put in as a team over spring break,” junior Grace Porter said. “Close losses to some of the top teams in the country toughened us.”

Though the Yeowomen left Meadville, PA, with a win, the Gators did not let Oberlin walk away easily. “Allegheny played us tough. Hats off to them, but kudos to our girls, too, for fighting through some really tough, close matches,” said Head Coach Constantine Ananiadis.

The No.1 doubles pair of Senior Brenna Sheldon and Porter started the team off on the right foot as they earned an 8–5 victory.

“The match Saturday showed our ability to fight as a team,” said Sheldon. “Even in very windy conditions when we couldn’t hit a clean ball, we were able to be patient and find a way to win against tough opponents.”

The No. 2 doubles pair, first-year Emma Brezel and sophomore Ariana Abayomi and No. 3 pair, first-year Olivia Hay and sophomore Erin Johnson added to the success with wins of 8–2 and 8–6, respectively.

The Yeowomen totaled three doubles victories against the Gators and were brimming with confidence as they headed into singles play.

In the absence of Sheldon in singles, everyone advanced one spot up, challenging the girls to higher competition. Porter played in the first spot and came out on top 6–3, 6–4 against Allegheny’s Sun Mo Koo.

“Grace Porter has really elevated her game the last month or so,” Ananiadis said. “She’s undefeated in singles and doubles since coming back from spring break, often winning decisively against good teams/opponents. She’s doing a really good job staying within herself and keeping her cool.”

The Yeowomen followed the opening victory with tiebreaker wins from Johnson in the second spot and Brezel in the third spot. Abayomi played in the No. 4 spot against the Gator’s Haley Meekhof and came away with a 7–5, 6–3 victory.

Johnson’s play was an especially welcome sight for Coach Ananiadis.

“Erin Johnson is also starting to put together full matches at a high level, which is nice to see, as I’ve always known she had the potential to play good tennis and she’s worked hard to get where she’s at,” he said.

With Sheldon as the lone senior, the team looks to underclassmen, like Johnson, to help lead the team.

“We are a young team, but have matured a lot as tennis players this season,” Sheldon said. “We have become better competitors and we have an awesome team dynamic, which makes a huge difference in the way we approach both practice and match play. It has been a great season and we are looking forward to the conference tournament this weekend at Denison.”

Coach Ananiadis has high hopes for his team this weekend.

“We can beat anyone in the conference, but we’ll have to not get too high on the highs or too down with the lows,” he said. “If we do that, we’ll do well.”

The Yeowomen will take on The College of Wooster Fighting Scots on Friday, April 25 at 3 p.m. in Granville, OH, with hopes of advancing to the semifinal round of the NCAC Tournament.

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