Women’s Tennis Struggles Against Ranked Foe


Courtesy of Kyle Youngblood

Senior captain Grace Porter sets up for a serve in a match against the University of Chicago Maroons last weekend. The women’s tennis team returns to its home courts to play Case Western University and Otterbein University this Saturday.

Harrison Wollman, Staff Writer

The women’s tennis team dropped its season opener to the nationally ranked University of Chicago Maroons last Sunday, losing all nine matches. In singles play, the No. 1 slot featured senior captain Grace Porter, currently ranked 17th in the region, against the Maroons’ sixth-ranked Megan Tang. Jumping out to an early 0–3 set lead, Porter was able to clinch the first set 3–6. The second set took a turn in favor of the Maroons as Tang claimed the next two sets, ultimately shutting Porter down with final scores of 6–4 and 10–7.

“The biggest reason they beat us so decisively was because our preseason wasn’t very intense and we were a bit unprepared on the court,” said Porter. “We only practiced together a few times since last semester.”

Junior Erin Johnson faced a similar fate against University of Chicago junior Lucy Tang, falling in the first two sets 6–1, 6–4. Johnson attributed the Maroons’ clean-slate victories to their strong agility and fitness.

“They’re a really talented team,” she said. “I think they were a lot more physical than us out there. They were faster and stronger and also have a little more experience than most of the girls on our team.”

In doubles play, Oberlin’s top duo of Porter and first-year Sarah Hughes battled against the region’s top-ranked pair of Megan Tang and Ariana Iranpour. The Yeowomen came within three points but could not muster a victory, falling 8–5. Rookies Jackie McDermott and Mayada Audeh also saw tough competition in their match, falling 8–6 to the University of Chicago.

Prior to the Yeowomen’s first matches of the year, the team traveled to Australia with the men’s team for preseason training and fun. Various scheduling conflicts and inclement weather prevented Oberlin’s squad from logging as much competitive tennis as planned. Nonetheless, McDermott said that the trip was an invaluable experience.

“We spent a few days at the Australian Open, which was a really great experience — watching the pros and seeing the mental approach they take to the game, along with the physical intensity in both singles and doubles,” she said. “It was a really amazing experience in terms of the tennis culture we got to see, and for team bonding, with all the time we spent traveling internationally together.”

While traveling abroad, Head Coach Constantine Ananiadis decided to name three captains: Porter, Johnson and senior Emily Fuller. Ananiadis said that he believes the diverse leadership styles will contribute to the Yeowomen’s success this season.

“Our three captains all bring different qualities to the table,” said Ananiadis. “They each have different ways in which they lead. That’s mainly the reason why we have tri-captains this year, and so far it’s working really well.”

The Yeowomen captains have set the bar high for their team this year. Porter says she hopes that the Yeowomen will challenge and push each other to develop their skillsets.

“I expect the girls to work hard and try to be a little tougher out on the court,” she said. “If we are going to lose, we have to make our opponents earn the win. I expect the girls on the team to push each other and to challenge each other during practice.”

Looking forward, the Yeowomen will host regional foes Case Western Reserve University and Otterbein University this Saturday at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.